There are so many people who go through the guilt and punishment cycle of feeling the need to workout intensely right after they eat.
Other than the tole this mentality takes on your mental health, it is also not ideal for your body’s natural digestion processes.
You can garner more healthy benefits through an entirely different type of exercise that is far less rigorous. Even though anaerobic exercise has its place in our weekly workout routine, scheduling movement that is slower in nature keeps the balance of yin and yang in our lives.
By just incorporating a casual stroll after your meals, you can reap a ton of physical benefits that a 15-minute HIIT workout can’t give you. Not to mention the fact that a slow and peaceful walk is also healing to the mind and spirit.
Going on a walk after eating can boost your metabolism, aid digestion, lower stress levels. improve sleep, and regulate blood sugar levels, making this form of exercise an imperative routine that you want to try and add to your wellness toolbox to heal your body if you suffer from gut imbalances, metabolic syndromes, diabetes, and other chronic ailments.
1. Walking after eating improves digestion
Once you finish eating, your body gets to work on breaking down the food to disperse the nutrients and eliminate the parts you don’t need.
Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, water, and other nutrients are absorbed and transported through your body to the areas that need them.
When you are walking, the gentle movement supports this digestive process by speeding up the breaking down and transportation of the nutrients. By speeding this up, you can reduce bloating and allow your body to get back to work on healing and other important processes by not expending too much energy on digesting.
This will also help reduce the “sluggish” feeling after eating.
2. Supports blood sugar regulation
After we eat, food is broken down into absorbable molecules that we use for energy.
For example, carbohydrates (a sugar) gets broken down into glucose, the hormone insulin then transports the glucose into the cell where they make ATP which fuels our entire body.
Specifically walking after dinner for just 10 minutes can improve your blood-glucose levels compared to any other time of the day according to the American Diabetes Association.
This wellness habit is important to diabetics because it can prevent glucose spikes in the blood which prevents sugar crashes. Research has actually shown that even the movement of standing or walking for 2 minutes will prevent this spike because muscles just absorb glucose, they want to be the first to eat it up, so this reduces the amount of glucose in the bloodstream.
3. Releases good-mood hormones
People love talking about the runner’s high, but even a casual after-dinner stroll can release those same endorphins.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a walk after a meal can also release serotonin, which is one of our neurotransmitters that promote good sleep, regulate appetite, improve learning and memory, and increase our positive feelings.
4. Improved sleep
After you eat a big meal, often the first thing you want to do is fall asleep comfortably on the couch.
However, going for a quick walk before you knock-out might make you feel even better, help you sleep longer, and increase the time you spend in REM which is when the healing occurs while you’re asleep.
Serotonin is the precursor neurotransmitter to our hormone melatonin. Once the body releases a sufficient amount of melatonin we start to wind down and feel sleepy.
Often people consume a lot of blue light (TV and cell phones) before they sleep that inhibits the release of melatonin, which is keeping you up later and harming sleep quality.
By swapping your nighttime TV show for a 15-minute walk, you will find that you will be able to fall asleep quicker and sleep deeper.
Want to receive personal health and lifestyle guidance that you can start doing now to help heal your gut?
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Thank you Allisun Christiani for this great health tip! Interested in becoming a blog contributor / vegan mentor at Veginner Cooking? Contact us!