Walking is a low-impact exercise that’s easy on your joints, and you can do it anywhere. In this article, I will tell you about the five main health benefits of walking after eating, some of which may surprise you.
Yes – a stroll after eating can boost your health substantially. Just two minutes of walking after meals can burn calories, help reduce your blood sugar, improve digestion, and more.
5 Benefits of Walking After Eating
Regulate blood sugar
Walking after eating helps regulate blood sugar. A study by Sports Medicine reported that when people went for a light walk after eating, their blood sugar levels rose and fell more gradually compared to if they continued sitting or standing. Participants’ insulin levels also stayed more stable during walking compared with sitting or standing. (Source)
And you don’t have to take a long walk to get the benefits — two to five minutes of light walking should do the trick. It’s also best to start walking only a few minutes after finishing a meal because blood sugar levels tend to spike between 60 and 90 minutes after eating. Though you can choose to walk after every (or any) meal, many people tend to be less active after dinner, making it an excellent time to take a short stroll. (Source)
Light walking after eating can support digestion. A study in PLOS One revealed that walking stimulates the intestines and stomach. (Source)
This can help food glide through the digestive system speedily. It can also help decrease bloating, particularly for people with irritable bowel syndrome. Bloating happens when gas builds up in the digestive tract as undigested food is broken down. Bloating also occurs when you swallow air as you drink or eat. Light physical activity, such as strolling, can help move some extra gas through the digestive tract.
Lower blood pressure
Light walking after eating may also help lower blood pressure. Hypertension is one of the main causes of heart disease and stroke, so it’s necessary to find ways to regulate high blood pressure. A study in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care found taking three ten-minute walks daily can help lower diastolic blood pressure for people with prehypertension. (Source)
Post-meal times can serve as convenient opportunities for these short walks. More research studies have found that walking effectively lowers systolic and diastolic blood pressure for adults with high blood pressure. People with more severe hypertension revealed more significant reductions. (Source)
Walking after eating can help you lose weight. Experts say we must burn 3,500 calories to shed a pound of fat. So, we need to create a caloric deficit of 500 calories a day, seven days a week, to lose 1 pound. Follow this formula as more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule. To use this guideline as the basis for weight loss, taking a walk after eating is an excellent way to contribute to creating that deficit. Walking boosts your metabolism, helping you burn more calories from fat.
On average, an individual who weighs 150 pounds can burn about 100 calories per mile when walking at a mild pace. Walking faster or longer will increase that number. The average person takes about twenty minutes to walk a mile, so a thirty-minute walk after eating at a mild pace can help burn up to 150 calories.
Improve your mood
Physical activities help decrease the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in the body. They also increase positive hormones like endorphins and oxytocin (the love hormone). This not only helps you feel good but also helps you sleep better. So, walking after meals can elevate your mood.
For those who don’t have the habit of walking after eating, if they can even manage two to five minutes in the beginning, that’s better than not walking at all. It can be as simple as parking farther away from the entrance if you go out for work or taking the stairs instead of the elevator on the way back to your desk. If you work from home, consider taking a short after-lunch walk between meetings. What matters is getting into the habit of walking after eating and having consistency within your routine whenever possible.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is an ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed the Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA, obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says, “Age is just a number!”
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is general and for information only because it doesn’t consider your health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalized health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should determine if the information is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.