“Exercise Snacking,” the New Fitness Trend for Managing Diabetes

Are you worried about high blood sugar levels? If so, you may be one of over 100 million adults in the U.S. struggling with prediabetes and diabetes. Here’s the good news:  new research suggests “Exercise Snacking” can help you manage it!

Exercise Snacking, the New Fitness Trend for Managing Diabetes

Getting your blood sugar under control requires having a healthy diet and adequate exercise. Sure it’s great if you’re eating the right foods. However, engaging in physical activities throughout the day will also help you manage your blood sugar better.

What is “Exercise Snacking?”

Exercise Snacking is a hot new trend in fitness that actually helps regulate high blood sugar levels.

Exercise Snacking - quick workoutIt might sound confusing, but it doesn’t involve eating.

Exercise snacking is a workout strategy that breaks up exercise into short, intense sessions throughout the day. It’s actually a lot like the concept of eating small meals throughout the day, only it involves engaging in short bouts of physical activity.

The good news: It’s highly beneficial for busy people who have trouble making time to exercise.

Thinking about it, doing short exercises throughout the entire day actually makes sense. Even if people engage in physical activities for an hour, many are still inactive for the most part of the day.

Exercise Snacking and HIITIf you’re not used to working out, you can try Exercise Snacking to add small amounts of physical activity into your routine. It’s a good start that can encourage you to get moving and be more active.

When you do “snack-sized” exercises, just take note it’s important to raise your heart rate up to 90 percent of its maximum beating capacity. Some forms of Exercise Snacking include doing 15-minute walks after eating meals and short high-intensity interval training (HIIT) before meals.

HIIT is basically a type of cardiovascular workout that packs on the same benefits as long endurance exercises. It’s a training technique where you do quick and intense exercises followed by short recovery periods. This kind of workout gets your heart rate up and burns more fat in a short time. For this reason, it’s the ideal type of exercise when you want to try Exercise Snacking.

Can Exercise Snacking Really Help Manage Diabetes?

Can Exercise Snacking Really Help Manage DiabetesIt’s actually not the first time scientists considered the benefits of doing short and intense exercises when it comes to managing diabetes. In a study published in Diabetes Care, scientists found doing 15-minute walks after meals significantly lowered blood sugar levels in seniors. Other similar studies also show walking after meals is more effective for lowering blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Another recent study published in Diabetologia revealed short and intense bouts of daily physical activity is effective, or even better, for managing blood sugar. In the experiment, scientists tested blood sugar levels of participants showing symptoms of type 2 diabetes. The first group did quick, one-minute high-intensity exercises before meals 6 times a day, while the second group did moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day.

The result: Exercise Snacking lowered blood sugar levels for 24 hours, better than 30 minutes of exercise.

Based on these facts, Exercise Snacking is more than just another fitness trend. If you’re prediabetic, engaging in quick and intense exercises can help prevent full blown diabetes. Plus, it helps get you moving if you have trouble making time for exercise.

What do you think of Exercise Snacking? Will you give it a try? 

Tell us in the comments below!



Francois ME, Baldi JC, Manning PJ, Lucas SJ, Hawley JA, Williams MJ, Cotter JD. ‘Exercise snacks’ before meals: a novel strategy to improve glycaemic control in individuals with insulin resistance. Diabetologia. 2014 Jul;57(7):1437-45. doi: 10.1007/s00125-014-3244-6. Epub 2014 May 10.

Loretta DiPietro, Andrei Gribok, Michelle S. Stevens, Larry F. Hamm, William Rumpler. Three 15-min Bouts of Moderate Postmeal Walking Significantly Improves 24-h Glycemic Control in Older People at Risk for Impaired Glucose Tolerance. Diabetes Care. Oct 2013, 36 (10) 3262-3268; DOI: 10.2337/dc13-0084


6 Thoughts

  1. When I heard the term “exercise snacking” I thought it meant eating lol. I do like this concept and I wish I had time to do it. I do try to move more throughout the day. It would be nice to take a small walk after a me. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Shaun! It’s great you’re making a bit more effort to get more active. Even adding 5-10 mins. of physical activity should help. I try to take the stairs more often instead of the elevator.

      1. I workout every morning but I would like to keep active during the day. I don’t think I sit too long but I get antsy when I sit.

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