Walking is good for your health. The positive effects of exercise particularly walking have been proven time and time again. But the biggest doubt in the health and fitness community is – should it be done before or after meals?
Walking in general, particularly after meals is believed to have many positive health benefits.
Walking after meals is said to improve digestion.
Body movement can aid digestion by regulating the movement of food in the stomach and intestines, move through more rapidly
Helps manage blood sugar levels
A leisurely walk after eating helps in blood sugar management and improves blood sugar levels particularly in people with type 1 and 2 diabetes. Exercising after eating prevents unwarranted spikes in blood sugar, thus reduces the amount of insulin or oral medications required
A 2016 study in people with type 2 diabetes found that light walk 10 minutes after meals is better than walking for 30 minutes at any other time. Not just people suffering from diabetes, even others can benefit from the blood-sugar-lowering effects.
Reduces risk of heart disease
Physical activity has always been said to be good for the heart. Regular exercise lowers the blood pressure and bad cholesterol (LDL), reducing the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise 5 days a week or say three 10-minute walks per day following meals may be better than one continuous bout of exercise. In other words, walking 5- to 10-minute after meals 2-3 times a day can help to lower blood triglycerides and reduce the risk due to heart disease.
Promotes weight loss
It’s a well-known fact that proper diet and exercise promote weight loss by helping burn more calories than taken in. Walking after meals can make you — calorie deficit and help you reduce weight.
Helps regulate blood pressure
Walking for 10-minute after meals – up to say 3 times a day may also help regulate blood pressure. According to a study exercise or walking after meals can lower systolic blood pressure by as much as 13%, or about 21 points
What more, several 10-minute walks throughout the day may be more healthy and beneficial than one continuous session
So to say walking after meals can improve heart health, digestion, blood sugar management, weight loss, and regulate blood pressure.
But the flip side of the coin or negative side effects is that walking just after eating can lead to upset stomach, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, gas, and bloating
This leads to a number of basic questions
What is the best time to walk?
This leads us to the basic question, what is the ideal time to walk – immediately following a meal or after a while when the body has digested the food you’ve eaten?
Taking a walk immediately after meals appears to yield the most benefits.
How long should you walk?
The next big question is how long should you walk? According to experts, you may initially start by walking for 10 minutes and then increase the duration over a period of time
Keeping your walks to around 10 minutes at a time would make it easier to fit in throughout the day without affecting your work schedule. To start with three 10-minute after meals is a good starting point, without disturbing your daily schedule.
Walking for 10 minutes is not the same as jogging for 10 minutes
In case you are thinking that if walking after meals is good, then jogging after meals maybe even better – the answer is a big no.
Before going to bed wait 30 minutes after dinner and then go for a walk. There is no need for long walks just short 10 to 15-minute stroll at a time is good enough.
There is a time for everything- even so, heavy exercises after dinner is not a healthy option. A late-night workout can interfere with your ability to fall asleep hence walking is an ideal exercise after dinner.
During the initial digestion process immediately after a meal, you’re at an increased risk of getting an upset stomach if you exercise too intensely. So, a brisk walk at no more than 5 km per hour is what you need.