Your body’s glycaemic balance depends on the following 2 factors:
Point 2 above is extremely important to keep in mind. Reducing insulin secretion in response to glucose rises after meals is a good thing, as we want to keep insulin levels under control if we are to remain healthy (and at our desired weight).
When you exercise your muscle membranes become more efficient at absorbing glucose, your heart pumps more glucose-containing blood to your muscles, and chemical enzymes change to help glucose transport even more. Our muscle cells get the glucose they need to fuel a workout, and our blood glucose levels drop.
Put simply – when you exercise your body releases more glucose into your muscle cells, and your blood glucose levels drop.
Exercise can boost glucose uptake by up to 50 times compared to when we are sedentary after a meal.
So when is the ideal time to exercise after eating?
But how long do you need to exercise for?
In a 2021 review of 51 studies published in Sports Medicine, 30 minutes of continuous cardio (brisk walk, cycle, light jog) within 6 hours of eating decreased glucose and insulin levels in the six hours after a meal (the postprandial period) compared to being at rest.
So in summary – whenever possible, move your body after eating to mobilize post-meal glucose to fuel physical activity and curb the spike you might experience if you were inactive. If you make a habit of doing this (and especially straight after a carb laden meal) you will be healthier and leaner over time.