We love a walk, and the longer the better. But it seems that even just a 15-minute stroll is good for you. A new study has found that walking for 15 minutes after each meal could prevent older people developing type-2 diabetes. The post-meal walk controls blood sugar just as much as one longer walk, according to the research team at George Washington University.
The study reported: “Elevated blood sugar after meals could increase the risk of type-2 diabetes, so resting after eating is the worst thing you can do.”
The US study is the first to test short bouts of exercise in the "risky period" following meals, when blood sugar can rise rapidly. It’s thought that three 15-minute walks are as effective at reducing blood sugar over a 24-hour period as one 45-minute walk of the same "easy-to-moderate" pace. But walking after food is "significantly more effective".
Benefits of short exercise sessions
While it’s better to enjoy your chosen outdoors pursuit, whether walking, cycling or kayaking or whatever, for more time than less, if you are short on time or low on fitness less exercise more often is better than none.
Shorter exercise ideas
- Jump rope: If you can manage 10 minutes of skipping then you’re already fit. Skipping is a great form of high intensity cardiovascular exercise and is surprisingly tough. Nipping out to the back garden for a few minutes of skipping every morning and evening will reap excellent health benefits.
- Yoga: Not only is yoga good for your mind and soul but it can increase your flexibility, increase your muscle strength and help you to tone. Grab a mat, or a large towel and place it in your garden. Give yourself 30 minutes to do some peaceful yoga exercises and you'll find yourself feeling refreshed and ready to go.
- Bounce about: Many households own a large trampoline. Bouncing on a trampoline is beneficial for cardiovascular fitness and strength building. When you bounce on the unstable trampoline surface it causes your body to “hold itself together” so that you utilise a range of muscles in areas such as stomach, back and legs.
- Family Sports: Turn a kick about with the football into a game for the whole family. Not only will you have bonding time but you'll also sneak in at least 30 minutes of exercise without your children even realising, everyone loves a bit of football don't they.
- Circuits: Skip the gym and try doing some workouts at home. Set up a circuit in your garden, with different corners being different stations, and repeat 3 times. One corner perhaps could be skipping, one could be lunges and squats, another could be sit ups and press ups, you can choose whatever suits you. By doing this you'll feel like you've done a big gym session without even leaving your house!
- Go garden: Every time you pass the flower beds, bend over and pull out a few weeds. Or dash around the front lawn with the lawn mower. The exercise benefits from gardening will mount up and you’ll save the money you might have spent on a gardener.
- Weightlifting: You don't need dumbbells to do weightlifting, you can make use of the items around you. You can use a bag of onions, a 4L carton of milk, be creative. You can even do bicep curls or squats while holding baked bin tins (or similar) in your hands. Add in lunges and arm raises for greater strength and conditioning potential.
- The garden workout: Why not try this garden workout written by The Telegraph. You can enjoy the fresh air whilst getting in some exercise - which you wouldn't be able to do at your gym!
Gardening provides you with both mental and physical fitness, it is seen as a way to unwind, as you are so focussed on what you are doing that you forget about your other worries, and your mind is put at ease. Gardening burns more calories than you think, 30 minutes of garden can burn off this many calories (based on a 180-pound person, if you weigh more you will burn more calories and if you weigh less you will burn less calories):
Mowing lawn (push mower): 243 Cals
General gardening: 202 Cals
Laying Sod: 202 Cals
Digging, spading, tilling: 202 Cals
Clearing Land: 202 Cals
Weeding: 182 Cals
Mowing (push with motor), 182 Cals
Planting trees: 182 Cals
Trimming shrubs (manual): 182 Cals
Planting seedlings: 162 Cals
Bagging leaves, 162 Cals
Raking: 162 Cals
Trimming shrubs (power), 142
Mowing the lawn (riding): 101 Cals
Watering the lawn or the garden: 61 Cals
Information taken from webmd.
Tell us your tips for short bursts of health giving exercise.