Will Taking a Walk After a Meal Make Me Healthier?
Here at Santo Remedio, we look at research behind health habits around the world to see which ones might be useful to you. Here’s an interesting one:
For thousands of years, people around the world have taken a stroll after meals. Indians call it a shatapawali, which means “walking 100 steps.” Italians have their passeggiata; Germans, their Verdauungsspaziergang—literally “digestion stroll.”
You’ll see after-meal walkers in Russia and England. One Chinese saying even promises that if you walk 100 steps after each meal, you’ll live to be 99!
So let’s dive into the science to see if this simple practice may have health benefits.
After you eat a meal, your body releases gastric juices and enzymes to break down the food. A casual 15-minute walk after a meal can speed up that process, which will help prevent indigestion and acid reflux.
Some studies show that walking stimulates the stomach and intestines to help the food move through the digestive system more quickly.
Others show that walking can be more effective in speeding up digestion than other digestive aids. One study in Germany looked at the difference between walking after a meal and drinking an espresso or a digestif with alcohol. They found that while the beverages had no effect, walking did speed up the rate at which the food moved through the digestive system.
Better regulated blood sugar
Your blood sugar spikes after a meal as the body breaks down food into its various components.
When you walk during that after-meal spike, your muscles use up some of the newly added blood glucose, so the blood sugar level stays more even.
One study of people with type 2 diabetes showed that blood sugar levels were much better regulated in people who walked for 15 minutes after a meal when compared to those who walked before a meal and those who didn’t walk at all.
Scientists have also found that to manage blood sugar, walking for shorter intervals directly after meals is more effective than one long walk during the day.
Lower blood pressure
Walking strengthens your heart and reduces blood vessel stiffness, both of which contribute to lower blood pressure.
One study indicated that walking after a meal can lower the accumulation of triglycerides in your blood, which is associated with a healthy blood pressure.
Other research shows that exercising 3 to 5 times per week can lower your blood pressure. What’s even better, researchers have also found that a few short sessions of exercise are as effective, if not more effective, than one long workout. So if you choose to do short walks after meals, you can double dip in the benefits.
It turns out that millions of people in cultures across the world are right. A light walk after meals isn’t just an enjoyable pastime with your family and friends—it can contribute to your good health. You can incorporate this walk into your daily routine of physical activity and use it as one of the ten-minute "diezmo" techniques from SR Diet and exercise plan to lose abdominal fat. The minutes you dedicate to activating your body will bring about a change reflected in your overall well-being.
Sometimes simple things make a big difference. Next time you eat a meal, take a stroll for better health.
Let’s get healthier, together,
Your friends at Santo Remedio
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