Lead study author Loretta DiPietro of George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and colleagues recruited 10 people age 60 and older who were otherwise healthy but at risk of developing type 2 diabetes due to higher-than-normal levels of fasting blood sugar and to insufficient levels of physical activity.
The study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, found three short post-meal walks were as effective at reducing blood sugar over 24 hours as a 45-minute walk of the same easy-to-moderate pace.
Moreover, walking after each meal was significantly more effective than a longer walk.
"These findings are good news for people in their 70s and 80s who might feel more capable of engaging in intermittent physical activity on a daily basis," DiPietro said in a statement.
"The muscle contractions connected with short walks were immediately effective in blunting the potentially damaging elevations in post-meal blood sugar commonly observed in older people."