Steps to a healthy future

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 07-Dec-2017

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A simple walk after eating could play a big role in controlling diabetes and heart disease according to new research to come out of Bendigo.


La Trobe University PhD researcher Philip Shambrook has discovered a 30-minute walk taken 30 minutes after eating is just as effective as a high-intensity workout when it comes to lowering blood sugar levels.


“We have found the intensity someone exercises at does not matter when considering the beneficial effects of exercise on blood sugar levels,” Mr Shambrook said.


“Exercising at low, moderate or high intensity lowered blood sugar levels similarly when compared to no exercise. 


“This means people need not work up a sweat or become uncomfortable to improve health. Just by going for a walk after eating will help control blood sugar and reduce the risk of developing diabetes or heart disease.”


Mr Shambrook was motivated to undertake the research due to the burgeoning epidemic of diabetes and heart disease in Australia and around the world.


“Insufficient physical activity is widely believed to be a major cause of this,” he said.


“As part of my PhD in exercise physiology I am investigating the effects of exercise intensity and duration on blood sugar control and the health of arteries and veins.”


Mr Shambrook enlisted a group of Bendigo men to assist him in the study.


Healthy male participants came to the laboratory at the Bendigo Campus on four separate occasions, each one week apart. 


During each visit they were given breakfast, rested for 30 minutes then undertook a single bout of 30 minutes cycling at low, moderate or high intensity; or sat for 30 minutes as a control intervention.


The study’s positive results have just been published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, but Mr Shambrook’s work is far from complete.


“The results of the first study have prompted us to compare the effects of accumulating exercise in three 10-minute bouts throughout the day after each main meal with a single 30-minute bout after the evening meal,” he said.


“If we can show that exercising in short bouts after each meal is at least as effective as a single, longer bout, we might be able to encourage even more people to become more active and begin making positive changes to reduce the increasing numbers affected by diabetes and heart disease.”


Males who do little or no exercise are being sought to take part in this study. Participants will be provided with all meals throughout their week-long involvement and only need to walk for a maximum of 30 minutes each day.


There is some reimbursement available towards the costs of taking part. For more information or to volunteer email p.shambrook@latrobe.edu.au


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