Some people have the habit of going for a walk after eating, but is it good for health? The answer to this question is less simple than we think.
Walking offers several health benefits, it is a simple exercise that promotes heart health, helps burn calories and can improve our mood. But is it good to walk after eating? While some studies suggest yes, others raise some questions.
In the following lines we share the possible effects of walking after eating, a widespread practice that apparently has both advantages and disadvantages . Keep reading!
Possible benefits of walking after eating
Walking is a low-impact activity that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. Some studies suggest that doing it after meals is a habit that can offer various benefits to the body . What are they?
1. Lower blood sugar levels
Regular exercise is essential to control diabetes. A randomized controlled trial involving several people with type 2 diabetes found that people who walked after their main meals had lower blood sugar levels than those who walked just once a day.
The results of this study suggest that eating few carbohydrates and taking a short walk, lasting about 10 minutes, after each meal reduces the risk of blood sugar spikes.
Another study, published in Diabetes Care , claims that short, moderate walks improve blood glucose values in older people over 24 hours.
Some research indicates that a walk after main meals prevents spikes in blood glucose.
On the other hand, however, an article published in The Journal of Nutrition states that moderate walking after meals does not exert favorable effects on blood sugar in adults at risk of cardiovascular disease.
2. A walk after eating protects the health of the heart
Exercise plays an important role in maintaining heart health. Walking every day reduces the risk of heart disease.
According to a publication in the journal Current Opinion in Cardiology , walking offers numerous benefits in terms of cardiovascular health , circulation, and blood pressure.
Therefore, walking after eating seems to be a beneficial practice for heart health. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that children up to the age of 17 perform moderate physical activity for 60 minutes a day and adults 150 minutes a week, which is equivalent to approximately 30 minutes a day.
3. Improves digestion
According to an article in the journal BioMed Research International , walking after eating could improve digestion thanks to the anti-inflammatory effect that is generated after physical activity.
As the body moves, abdominal fat is reduced and metabolic changes in lipids and glucose occur that can reduce inflammation.
Exercise is also believed to facilitate intestinal transit, as a result of better digestion of food and absorption of substances, according to a study published in the World Journal of Clinical Cases.
However, despite these studies, it is good to remember that more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of physical exercise in terms of digestion.
Possible side effects.
There is little evidence of the undesirable effects of walking after eating. However, they can occur in some cases. Some people experience bothersome symptoms. We talk about it in the following lines.
1. Digestive disorders
The most common are indigestion, nausea, vomiting, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, and pain. These symptoms are due to high carbohydrate intake or difficulty digesting recently eaten food . To avoid this, it is advisable to leave about 30 minutes before the walk.
It seems that walking after eating can cause an upset stomach. However, evidence is still needed to prove this possibility.
2. Gastroesophageal reflux
According to a study, exercise can trigger the feeling of regurgitation in both healthy people and people with gastroesophageal reflux disease. According to the cited article, the greater the intensity of physical activity, the greater the frequency of reflux episodes .
Tips for a healthy walk after eating
To enjoy the possible benefits of this habit, keep in mind the following tips:
- As several studies explain , it is recommended to walk between 10 and 15 minutes after each of the main meals of the day. This activity allows you to complete the time of physical activity recommended by the WHO.
- Walking briskly. Running after eating is not recommended, as the high intensity can lead to acid reflux or stomach pain.
- The US Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds you that walking in moderation means walking 3 miles per hour at a leisurely pace, without significant changes in breathing or heart rate.
- Being comfortableis essential to be able to enjoy the ride. That is why it is good to wear loose clothing and shoes that support the heels.
- Drinking water is essential to stay hydrated.
The body’s reaction to a walk after meals depends on factors such as health status, physical condition and the intensity with which the activity is performed. If you suffer from any previous illness, it is good that you consult your doctor , who will confirm whether or not to perform physical activity of moderate or high intensity.