The positive effects of exercise on health is well known to every one. Evidently, taking a short walk around the block after each meal, or a quick stroll around the office after lunch yields many health benefits such as improved digestion, heart health, blood sugar management, weight loss, and regulates blood pressure.
For the biggest health benefits, aim to walk within 60 to 90 minutes after you finish a meal; this is when blood sugar levels tend to peak. Your muscles use up the energy from the food you just ate and help escort the sugar out of your bloodstream.
A new study analyzed how walking after a meal affects insulin and blood sugar levels. Study shows that going even for a few minutes short walk after a meal, can help reduce blood sugar levels. When you eat a meal - particularly one heavy in carbohydrates - it's normal for your blood sugar levels to spike temporarily. This spike in blood sugar triggers the release of insulin, which allows glucose to enter your cells, where it's used for energy. However, if your body consistently has very high spikes in blood sugar, cells can eventually stop responding to insulin (insulin resistance). Therefore, a walk after meals can help lower blood sugar levels, potentially reducing the chances of developing insulin resistance, diabetes Type 2 and heart disease.
If you experience an upset stomach when walking right after eating, wait 10–15 minutes after meals before walking and keep the walking intensity low.
Let's have a look at a few obvious health benefits of walking shortly after eating.
Walking after eating promotes your digestion by stimulating the stomach and intestines, and aiding the food to move through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract more rapidly (improved colonic transit time).
Protective effects on the GI tract
Low to moderate physical activity after eating has protective effects on the GI tract; reduced risk of
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),
May promote weight loss
We all know that physical activity in combination with a proper diet plays a major role in weight management. It is self evident that in order to promote weight loss, you must be in a calorie deficit. This means you must strive to burn more calories than you take in.
Walking a mile (1.6 km) after meals burns approximately 100 calories (depends on your sex and weight). This practice —if consistently maintained— could bring you closer to reaching a calorie deficit that can aid in weight loss.
To increase the intensity of your walk and burn even more calories, try walking on routes with hills or slight inclines. Regular walking after meals will also improve your mood and make you more motivated to keep it up.
May help regulate blood pressure
Walking after meals may have a potent blood-pressure-lowering effect. An Italian study found that regular walking can reduce systolic blood pressure by as much as 21 points. "Several" 10-minute walks throughout the day --a minimum of 30 minutes of daily walking with 3 daily 10-minute walks-- are more beneficial for lowering blood pressure than one continuous session.