Research shows that people with type 2 diabetes can benefit from afternoon exercise

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Researchers concluded that “timing seems to matter” when it comes to exercise.


People with type 2 diabetes should exercise in the afternoon rather than in the morning to control their blood sugar levels, a new study finds.

“In this study, we (have) shown that adults with type 2 diabetes had the greatest improvement in glucose control when they were most active in the afternoon,” co-corresponding author Dr. Jingyi Qian, of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts, said in a statement.

“We know that physical activity is beneficial, but what our study adds is a new insight that the timing of activity may also be important,” Qian added.

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A team of researchers from the Brigham and Joslin Diabetes Center studied data from more than 2,400 people who were overweight and diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and who wore a waist accelerometer recording device — something that measures vibration or acceleration of movement — to measure their physical activity. .

After reviewing data from the first year of the study, the researchers found that those who engaged in “moderate-to-vigorous” afternoon physical activity had the greatest reduction in blood glucose levels.

According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, examples of “moderate” activity include brisk walking, mowing the lawn with an electric mower, and playing badminton recreationally, while “vigorous” activity includes walking, a brisk jog, a basketball or football game, or cycling at age 14. -16 miles per hour.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can tell if you’re exercising at a moderate aerobic level if you can talk but can’t sing your favorite song.

Looking at data from the fourth year of the study, the team found that those who exercised in the afternoon maintained a reduction in blood glucose levels and were most likely to stop taking glucose-lowering diabetes medications.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or does not produce enough insulin, according to the World Health Organization.

Found mostly in adults, it is associated with older age, obesity, family history, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity.

People with diabetes are at risk for complications, including nerve damage, vision and hearing problems, kidney disease, heart disease, and premature death.

The study authors note that the observational study has limitations, as it did not measure sleep or diet.

“Timing seems to matter,” says co-corresponding author Dr. Roeland Middelbeek, assistant researcher at the Joslin Diabetes Center. “In the future, we may have more data and experimental evidence for patients to make more personalized recommendations.”

Dr. Lucy Chambers, Head of Research Communications at Diabetes UK, said of the study: “Staying physically active can help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels and reduce their risk of developing serious diabetes-related complications, such as heart disease and diabetes. Reduce. kidney failure, as well as improving their overall well-being.

Chambers, who was not involved in the study, stressed the need for people to exercise where they can.

“This new study found that regular ‘moderate-to-vigorous’ physical activity — whether in the morning, afternoon, afternoon or evening — was associated with lower average blood sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes. 2. Afternoon exercise has been associated with the greatest benefits, but the reasons for this are unclear and current evidence on optimal times to exercise is mixed.

“If you’re living with type 2 diabetes, the most important thing is to find an exercise you enjoy and can incorporate into your routine long-term — whether it’s for work, on your lunch break, or at night. evening,’ she added.

The team’s findings are published in the journal Diabetes Care.

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