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6 Ways to Beat Diabetes — for Good

Small changes to your diet and habits can reduce the risk

3. Walk and talk

We know that sitting too long can be deadly; now new research shows that people who sit six to eight hours a day are 19 percent more likely to have diabetes. "Extended sitting slows your body's ability to metabolize glucose," says Sheri Colberg, a professor at Old Dominion University in Virginia whose research and writing focus on diabetes and exercise. But moving around for two minutes every half hour ups your metabolism enough to lower glucose. Set a timer if you need a reminder.

4. Bulk up

Why is strength training so important? "Muscles are where we store most of our glucose," says Colberg. "If your muscles are small, there's less storage space. Glucose from food is released into your blood, and blood sugar rises." One University of Ottawa study even found resistance training kept blood sugar lower longer than aerobic exercise did. Try to lift weights twice a week.

5. Savor your food

Eating slowly boosts satiety and prompts us to eat smaller portions. Studies also show that friends and family can influence our habits, so surround yourself with like-minded loved ones who want to improve their health and manage their weight. Plus, people who have peer support tend to do better at losing weight and keeping it off, Boucher says.

6. Move after meals

Taking a 15-minute stroll a half hour after you eat lowers post-meal blood sugar levels for at least three hours, a new study shows. "The muscle contractions resulting from the exercise are what help clear the blood sugar," says lead author Loretta DiPietro. The results are immediate, but the 30-minute time frame is key. Aim for these short jaunts following every meal.

Holly St. Lifer is a freelance writer.

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