Written by David Sauro
The Barnstable Challenge!
The positive effects of exercise on health have been known and proven time and time again. In recent years, a growing agreement in the health and fitness community, is that taking a short walk after eating a meal has several health benefits.
Walking is a great form of exercise but doing it after eating is even more beneficial for your mind and body. In Italy, it is normal to walk after meals. The Italians have been doing this for centuries. When it comes to walking, a quick 15-minute walk around your neighborhood can have a number of health benefits.
The main benefits include:
- Improves digestion: Once you are done eating, your body gets to work breaking down all the different nutrients you just ingested. By moving your body, you are helping things move within your body to process the food you just ate.
- Heart health: For decades, physical activity has been linked to heart health. Regular exercise may lower your blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol, while also reducing your risk of a stroke or heart attack.
- Blood sugar management: Walking after eating helps you regulate your blood sugar levels. A 2016 study found that as little as ten minutes of postdinner walking can improve blood glucose levels which in turn reduces the risk of developing conditions like type II diabetes or heart disease.
- Regulates blood pressure: Several studies associate three daily 10-minute walks with reducing blood pressure levels. Several 10-minute walks throughout the day appear to be more beneficial for lowering blood pressure than one continuous walk.
- Decreases stress: Walking after meals has a calming effect on the body, which can improve your mood, focus and concentration.
- Better sleep: Walking after eating promotes a faster and deeper sleep, as serotonin increases, as a result of walking, which is a precursor to melatonin.
- Think more creatively: A Stanford University study found that walking increases creativity. Compared to sitting, walking boosted creativity by an average of 60 percent among the study participants. A walk can help you clear your mind and make room for new ideas.
- Weight loss: Exercise, along with a proper diet, plays a major role in weight loss. To promote weight loss, you must be in a calorie deficit, meaning that you burn more calories than you take in. Walking after meals can help you reach a calorie deficit, that if consistently maintained, can aid in weight loss.
- Overall body feels better: Moving around helps loosen tight muscles, limbs, and gets your blood pumping. It will also help improve your overall balance as your muscles get stronger, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve walked regularly.
- Negative side effects: Walking after eating has very few associated negative side effects. Some people may experience an upset stomach. Best to wait at least 15 minutes after you eat to walk but if you need to wait longer than that see what works for you.
In summary, a low to moderate 15 minutes’ walk following a main meal gives you several benefits with low risk of negative side effects. A simple walk can have a positive impact on your health without the need to commit to an intense fitness routine. According to Jeff Miller, Ph.D. a researcher on the subject, walking will almost certainly result in increased feelings of pleasant energy. If nothing else go for a short walk, it makes you feel good!
Make believe you are in Italy and go out for a walk in your neighborhood.
THE BARNSTABLE CHALLENGE: Starting today and continuing this summer, we challenge you to get into the routine of going for a 15 & 15. Fifteen minutes after eating go-for a walk for 15-minutes, time permitting attempt to do that twice a day.
Email us at [email protected] to let us know you are in and what type of results you get.
Together let us become HEALTHIER ME a HEALTHIER WE!
Although intensity of walking is generally low, it is important to check with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise routine, if you have any preexisting conditions.
The content shared from HOW (Heart of Wellness) is for informational purposes only and is not intended nor should it be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult with your doctor if any questions. HOW is a non-profit based in Centerville, MA that specializes in mindful wellness and self-care programs along with professional development for schools, business, and communities.