Even a little exercise can help prevent type two diabetes, and exercise after meals can help control it

LEAWOOD, Kan. -- Type two diabetes affects one in ten Americans, and one in three are at high risk for it. New research finds even a little exercise can help prevent it, and if you have it, the timing of exercise can help control it.

Wayne Hayton admits he didn't move his body much over a number of years.

"It was a factor -- not being active, exercising and controlling my weight," said Hayton.

It was a factor along with heredity in Hayton now having insulin-dependent type two diabetes.

A new analysis looked at more than a million people, and found that any amount of exercise can reduce the risk of developing the disease. For people who got the recommended minimum of 30 minutes, five days a week, it was 26 percent lower risk. And with more exercise, the risk dropped more.

"You are turning fat tissue into muscle tissue. Muscle tissue is much better at using the insulin that your body already makes, so it helps keep your blood sugars low and helps prevent diabetes," said Dr. Kate Lorentz with Shawnee Mission Internal Medicine and Pediatrics.

A second, small study looked at people who already have type two diabetes. It found walking for 10 minutes after meals was more effective in controlling blood sugar than doing 30 minutes all at once. The benefit of a walk after dinner was especially beneficial. It lowered blood sugar by
22 percent.

"Just giving that option of breaking it up during the day so they don't feel so overwhelmed, I think is going to be really helpful for them," said Dr. Lorentz.

"I get up from my desk and make sure I walk the halls," said Hayton.

He says moving more, even for small periods during the day, is helping him better control his blood sugar.

With more movement and diet changes, he's lost 47 pounds this year. By losing weight, you become less insulin resistant.

The two studies are in the journal Diabetologia.