For overweight adults with type 2 diabetes, study results show that even light walking was linked to an average 10-point drop in blood pressure.
For overweight adults with type 2 diabetes, even light walking was linked to an average 10-point drop in blood pressure, researchers said at the American Heart Association 2015 Scientific Sessions in Orlando, FL.
Paddy Dempsey, MPhEd, and colleagues at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues tracked BP levels in 24 overweight and obese people with type 2 diabetes as they sat for eight hours.
They found that taking either a three-minutes walking break at only 2 miles per hour or did three minutes of simple resistance exercise every half hour led to significant BP drops.
"You don't have to do very much," said co-author Bronwyn Kingwell, PhD.
Previous research has shown that sitting for long periods of time raises the risk of obesity, high BP, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.
The authors said theirs is the first study to show the benefits of light physical activity on type 2 diabetic patients in a controlled lab setting.
The participants average age was 62 and most were on medications to control BP. The walking was a slow easy stroll on a treadmill. The resistance activities were half-squats, calf raises, knee raises, or gluteal muscle squeezes.
It wasn't the total amount of exercise so much as the breaks, the team said. Muscles activated in moving increase blood sugar uptake, which is especially important for people with type 2 diabetes.
There is a parallel drop in norepinephrine levels that may be related to the blood pressure drop, they said.
The exercise breaks are not meant to replace regular strenuous exertion but "May be a practical solution to cut down sitting time," especially for people who work at a desk all day. The study was funded by Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council.