After a big meal, the last thing you might want to do is exercise. The good news is something as simple as a short walk can benefit your health and lower blood sugar levels, according to a study published in the journal Sports Medicine.

This doesn't mean Olympic speed walking. It simply means walking as little as five minutes to get the blood flowing, the study said.

The study delved into whether standing was effective as well, and though it had more benefits than simply sitting, walking showed greater health benefits in lowering blood sugar.

“Intermittent standing breaks throughout the day and after meals reduced glucose on average by 9.51% compared to prolonged sitting. However, intermittent light-intensity walking throughout the day saw a greater reduction of glucose by an average of 17.01% compared to prolonged sitting,” study co-author Aidan Buffey told CNN.

Adding that, “This suggests that breaking prolonged sitting with standing and light-walking breaks throughout the day is beneficial for glucose levels.”

Benefits of walking

There is a plethora of health benefits that come with taking a stroll around the park, the Mayo Clinic said, emphasizing that exercising does not have to be a vigorous activity for you to see benefits.

Health benefits that come with walking, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:

  • Maintain a healthy body.
  • Prevent or manage high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • Boost immune system.
  • Increase energy levels.
  • Improve balance.
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What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the pace at which blood moves throughout your arteries. If blood pressure is high, your heart is working harder to pump the blood through your body, per Catholic Health.

According to Eating Well, “After you eat, your blood sugar increases, and the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin. ... This hormone signals the body to soak up glucose, lowering blood sugar along the way.”

Walking helps kickstart your body’s blood flow and helps send glucose from outside the muscle cell to the inside, fitness nutritionist Michele Canon told Eating Well.

How to get started

It is important that you monitor your blood sugar levels more often when just starting to workout, especially if it’s been a while since being active, per the American Diabetes Association.

Repetition will allow improvement. “Start slowly and walk for just a few minutes the first time. The more you walk, the easier it will get, and you’ll be able to add intensity by increasing your time, pace, or distance,” the American Diabetes Association added.

Easy ways to incorporate walking into your day could include the following:

  • Avoid driving to walkable destinations.
  • Get a friend to walk with and hold each other accountable.
  • Invest in a treadmill or march in place.
  • Listen to a podcast or interactive app to encourage you.