Health & wellness

Daily Dose

Why you need to take an exercise ‘snack’ before you eat

Exercise ‘snack’ before meal and other fitness news

Fresh exercise findings are hard to come by, but three new research studies may inspire you to get off the couch and move longer and faster.

1. Have an exercise “snack” before meals to lower blood sugar: A small European study involving 9 people with type 2 diabetes or its precursor, insulin resistance, found that doing a short, high-paced burst of activity just before eating led to a smaller rise in blood sugar after eating and over the course of the day. The exercise “snack” consisted of 12 minutes of treadmill walking: six one-minute bouts on a steep incline interspersed with a minute of slow-walking on no incline.

2. For women over 30, lack of exercise biggest contributor to heart risk: If women older than 30 want to lower their lifetime risk of heart disease, they should increase their efforts to meet the US government’s recommendations to exercise for 150 minutes a week. Before age 30, smoking contributes the most to heart risk, but after that it’s lack of exercise, according to a study published last week in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

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3. Pushing harder and sweating more lowers heart attack risk in the elderly. A Harvard School of Public Health study found that nearly 1,000 elderly adults who increased their walking pace and duration of leisure activities had significantly improved their heart function over five years compared with those who didn’t.

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“Do not slow down as you get older — try to walk an extra block or walk at a faster pace,” said study leader Luisa Soares-Miranda. D.K.

Deborah Kotz can be reached at dkotz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.