Take a 2-Minute Walk to Protect Your Health

When you're trying to manage diabetes, it's not always easy to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Eat right. Watch your weight. Reduce stress. You know the drill, right?

But what happens when a routine glucose meter reading says your blood sugar levels are too high? Or a quarterly blood test at the doctor's office shows elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides?

You're in dangerous territory. About 68 percent of older people with type 2 diabetes die from heart disease, and another 16 percent die from a stroke, according to the American Heart Association. It's why controlling lipid levels (blood fat) is just as important as controlling your blood sugar levels.

You may not be able to monitor lipid levels like you can track blood sugar levels with a glucose meter. But you can do something to lower levels of fatty acids in your blood to prevent a clot that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

It's incredibly easy and only takes 2 minutes to make a difference.

Get up and go for a walk.

That's it. In a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, researchers found that taking a brisk two-minute walk every 30 minutes throughout the day helps control triglyceride levels. One 30-minute session of exercise a day is a good idea, too. But if you only have two minutes to spare, it can make a difference.

"We believe there is an important health message here," says lead researcher Dr. Meredith Peddle. "The traditional half-hour block of moderate to vigorous activity is important, but so is limiting long periods of sitting by undertaking regular short bouts of activity throughout the day."

Regular exercise is important, especially when the average adult spends 8-plus hours a day sitting at home, at work, during meals, and in front of the TV. It's an effective way to control calories and lose weight. But exercise, even two minutes at a time can provide other protective health benefits to people with diabetes.