Summary: A leisurely stroll after a meal is often enough to prevent a dangerous spike in blood sugar.
According to Adam Khan in “The Moodraising Effect of Constitutionals”
A walk taken regularly for the sake of one’s well-being is called a constitutional. […] Gandhi, Darwin, Emerson, and many creative (and long-lived) people throughout history took constitutionals often.
Walk at a pace that’s easy and pleasant. Don’t make your constitutionals do double duty as an exercise program. A constitutional is closer to meditation, but it’s not a “discipline.” It’s more like a vacation, and that’s exactly the attitude to have.
Walk for longer than fifteen minutes. A half hour to an hour is good. You need to do it long enough to let your mind relax. This is a temporary vacation from our compulsion to do, and it needs to be long enough to have an effect.
It turns out that a constitutional is not just good for your brain, it’s also good for your blood sugar level after meals. According to Ingrid Spilde in “An easy walk lowers blood sugar level: A leisurely stroll after a meal gives a dramatic drop in dangerously high levels of blood sugar”
“Just getting up and walking about is enough to prevent a rise in blood sugar considerably, in fact as much as medicines designed to curb high blood sugar levels,” says Professor Arne Torbjørn Høstmark.
An easy stroll giving a pulse just barely above the normal resting pulse rate prevented large increases in blood sugar levels. In fact, the effect appeared to be roughly equivalent to the results after the slightly more demanding cycling experiment.
One thing, however, that did make a difference was the duration. A 40-minute stroll lowered blood sugar much more than one lasting just 15 minutes.
That was confirmed in another study, this time with 11 women, all of them Pakistani immigrants. In Norway, they belong to a high-risk group for elevated blood sugar levels and diabetes 2.
This study also showed that a very easy walk lowered blood sugar levels significantly and that a 40-minute walk helped more than a 20-minute walk.