Walking is always good for you and immediately after eating: it regulates blood sugar and blood pressure, improves sleep and mental health
To walk it is a simple activity that offers a number of health benefits. But what are the benefits of taking a walk after eating? There are various scientific researches to reveal them.
There are numerous studies conducted on the benefits of walking and some have examined the beneficial effects of moving after eating a meal. These suggest for example that a short walk after eating helps manage blood glucose levels. But moderate daily exercise can also improve sleep, heart health, and more.
Let's find out all the advantages.
After eating, your blood sugar rises, especially if the meal contained a lot of carbohydrates. This is a temporary and completely normal increase, as sugar supplies the cells of the body, especially the brain, with the necessary energy.
In healthy individuals, the pancreas releases enough insulin to regulate blood sugar. However, there are other diet and lifestyle changes a person can make to support blood sugar control, and one of them is walking after eating.
According to a 2018 study, the timing of a walk affects postprandial blood glucose or blood sugar levels after eating a meal. The findings suggest that a short walk after a meal lowers blood glucose levels more than walking before a meal.
Regular exercise, in any form, can help relieve insomnia problems, even a simple walk is great. A study from a few years ago shows that in adults, regular long-term exercise can significantly reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.
However, taking a leisurely stroll after dinner can also benefit those who don't suffer from insomnia. A moderate amount of aerobic activity increases the amount of slow wave sleep, or deep sleep, at night. You just have to be careful not to overdo it, a more vigorous exercise can in fact be stimulating and on the contrary interfere with sleep.
Regular physical activity can lower blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol, which helps prevent heart disease and stroke. For optimal heart health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend people get 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least 5 days a week.
You can easily achieve this by taking a 30-minute walk after a meal or three 10-minute walks after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Walking is a simple way to improve our mental health. This is because it reduces stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. When a person takes a walk, the body releases endorphins which act as natural pain relievers that reduce discomfort and stress, improve mood, and induce feelings of relaxation.
However, research does not indicate that walking after a meal specifically improves a person's mental health so if we want to achieve this specific benefit, we can go for a walk at any time of the day.
According to a 2020 study, moderate daily exercise improves symptoms such as gas and bloating, typical of those with irritable bowel syndrome. The results of this research suggest that people can reduce their symptoms by 50% simply by increasing their daily step counts from 4.000 to 9.500.
It is important to note that this study was conducted on college students, mostly women. Furthermore, it was observational and limited to people with irritable bowel. This means that the observed results will not necessarily apply to other people.
Walking after eating is not always a good idea. In fact, there are also potential drawbacks to consider, such as the possibility of finding yourself struggling with poor digestion or stomach pain. A side effect that, however, can be easily kept under control by considering the length, intensity and timing of your post-meal walk. In practice, avoiding overdoing it.
Those who have eaten a large and heavy meal may need to wait before walking. The time can be variable and depends both on the individual and on the characteristics of the meal itself.
Since each person's digestion is different, each of us should pay attention to how he feels after meals and understand what is best for him.
Read all of our articles on the benefits and advantages of walking.
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