Healthy Hack #6: Go For a Walk after Meals
A common complaint I hear from people who are considering making diet and lifestyle changes is that it takes too much time, effort, and money to be healthy. Being a busy person myself and with two kids heading off to college in a few weeks, I want being healthy to be as quick, easy, and inexpensive as possible. I also want it to be fun and delicious. And that's just what I like to show people with my healthy hacks: you can eat nutritiously and live a healthy lifestyle without spending a lot of time and money.
This month’s healthy hack takes only 15 minutes, costs nothing, and requires no equipment. For something so simple, the benefits are great. And with the great August weather, there is no better time than to start this easy, healthy habit of taking a walk after a meal.
If you are like most people, breakfast and lunch happen at your desk in front of the computer. After dinner, you get up from your chair at the table and sit down on the couch in front of the tv (if you aren’t already there!) where you stay for a couple of hours before heading to bed for the night. Instead of sitting at your desk or moving to the couch, try heading outside for a 15-minute walk. Research shows there are many benefits to a short walk at a moderate or light pace after you’ve had a meal:
Better digestion – a relaxing walk after eating has been demonstrated to accelerate the rate at which your meal moves through your stomach.
Stabilize blood sugar – for those who suffer from Type-2 diabetes, a walk after a meal helps lower blood sugar levels.
Less gas – for everyone, and especially those who suffer from IBS, walking after eating may help improve symptoms of gas and bloating.
Lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol – regular physical activity, including walking, can lower your blood pressure and LDL cholesterol when done daily for at least 30 minutes. You can easily do this by walking for just 10 minutes after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Better sleep – a leisurely walk after dinner can help relieve insomnia and improve your quality of sleep.
Less stress & improved mood – a comfortable stroll after a meal promotes the release of endorphins that stimulates relaxation and improves our mood.
Facilitates weight loss – walking immediately after eating can suppress a glucose increase from the meal which suppresses excess insulin and the resulting storage of fat.
Try it out for a few days or weeks and let me know what you think!
Looking for a walking partner? To support my clients with their movement goals, we often meet for walking coaching sessions. If you want to increase your walking and combine it with the support of health coaching, contact me. I promise you that our sessions will be active, fun, fulfilling, and worthwhile. And combining your exercise with accountability will certainly result in progress towards your goals.