If you don’t exercise and hardly ever get any physical activity, your blood sugar spikes higher after a meal than in people who move more. That makes you more liable to develop diabetes.
“We now have evidence that physical activity is an important part of the daily maintenance of glucose levels,” says Missouri University researcher John Thyfault. “Even in the short term, reducing daily activity and ceasing regular exercise causes acute changes in the body associated with diabetes that can occur before weight gain and the development of obesity.”
Thyfault’s most recent study shows that low levels of physical activity lead to elevated levels of postprandial glucose (PPG), the spikes in blood sugar that occur after meals. PPG is a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes and has been associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Thyfault found that when healthy individuals reduce their physical activity by about half for three days, their PPG responses to meals double.
“It is recommended that people take about 10,000 steps each day,” Thyfault said. “Recent evidence shows that most Americans are only taking about half of that, or 5,000 steps a day. This chronic inactivity leads to impaired glucose control and increases the risk of developing diabetes.”