You probably know that walking in general is beneficial to our health. Both physically and mentally. The more you walk each day, the healthier you become.
But did you know about the benefits of walking after a meal? It’s true, instead of diving into your comfortable couch or spending time in front of your computer or phone screen, the best solution for your health is to go out for a nice walk. Stepping outside particularly after a satisfying meal can generate its own positive effects on your overall health. And this is not hearsay. It’s backed up by science.
Here’s why engaging in a light or moderate walk directly after eating is good for you.
Improves your Digestion
One of the most noteworthy benefits of walking after you’ve finished eating is that it can aid your digestion. What physical activity does to help you in this particular matter is basically speed up the digestive process. Normally, the process of absorbing all the nutrients and transporting them through our body takes a while if you’re sedentary. But moving your body will implicitly generate a faster movement of food through your stomach and intestines. This will lead to a faster digestion and will help you feel less bloated.
Helps You Lose Weight
Exercise, regardless of its form, plays an important role in your weight loss quest. Even though at first glance it may not seem that efficient, a simple exercise like walking can actually help you burn calories and drop those unwanted pounds.
Moreover, when it comes to weight loss, walking after eating can aid you reach your goals. According to a study, going for a walk just after a meal has proven to be more effective for losing weight in comparison to going for a walk one hour after you’ve finished your meal. Of course, the key to succeeding is to turn this activity into a daily habit. If you walk for at least 30 minutes each day, you’ll most surely reap the benefits.
Reduces Food Cravings
If you’re on a diet and fighting hard to stick to it, food cravings may be your worst enemy. Some of us have created a habit of eating something sweet after dinner, others are used to grabbing some popcorn or a bag of chips while watching a movie. Unfortunately these late night cravings can seriously affect your diet and your figure.
One of the ways to cut back on snacking is to go for a walk. You probably wouldn’t have guessed it, but taking a stroll after dinner can actually help you reduce your food cravings. And we have scientific proof. Researchers at University of Exeter have found that a 15-minute brisk walk can substantially lower cravings for sweets. So, even though it may not be easy, try going for a walk every time you’re about to give into the sweet temptation. You’ll be fitter and healthier this way.
Prevents Heart Disease
The heart is one of the most important organs in our body. Because it’s a vital organ, we need to make sure we maintain it as healthy as possible. One of the best ways to do so, in addition to a healthy diet, is to be more active physically. This doesn’t necessarily imply intense workouts; a light to moderate walk may be enough.
Findings of a recent study show that taking multiple activity breaks throughout the day can help you lower your blood triglycerides more efficiently in comparison to a single continuous physical activity. The triglycerides are a type of fat that, if found in higher concentrations, can increase the risk of stroke and heart disease. Therefore, a 10-15 minute walk after each meal is recommended, since it can really help you keep your heart healthy.
Lowers your Blood Sugar Levels
One of the important health benefits of a post-meal walk is the fact that it can help you regulate your blood sugar levels. Keeping the blood sugar under control primarily benefits patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes, but at the same time it can have positive health effects on other individuals.
According to researchers at the George Washington University, repetitive 15-minute post-meal walks, done at a moderate pace, can significantly improve the glycemic control for adults at risk of type 2 diabetes. Another study, conducted on patients with type 2 diabetes, discovered that a 10-minute light walk after a meal is more efficient for lowering the blood sugar levels in comparison to a 30-minute walk done at any other time of the day.
Better Sleep at Night
The positive impact of walking isn’t limited to just physical benefits. Not at all. There’s also the emotional and mental aspect to consider. One of the important benefits of walking after dinner is the fact that it can aid you combat insomnia and hence get a good night’s sleep, which is fundamental for your health.
According to specialists, engaging in physical exercise such as walking before going to bed can not only help you fall asleep faster, but also improve the sleep quality during the night. Going for a stroll after dinner is also a great way to reduce your stress level, to clear your mind and improve your mood.
Tip: Track your Walks
Going for a walk is truly beneficial to your health. But if you want to make the most of your workout, it’s a great idea to keep track of your physical activity. This way you’ll know exactly how much you’re walking instead of guessing, you’ll be able to follow your progress along the way and find the necessary motivation to not stop until you have reached your fitness goals.
In order to monitor your physical activity during the day you don’t really need to purchase a fitness tracker. You can effectively track your walks using your mobile phone, which you carry with you basically anywhere you go. It’s enough to install a pedometer app like our own ActivityTracker and you’re good to go. This way you’ll be able to see all the relevant fitness metrics, such as the steps taken, calories burned, distance covered or active time, and also set your own goal and adjust it according to your needs and preferences.