For many people, eating dinner means tucking into a plate of hearty food and not moving from the couch until the next day. But if you're trying to lose weight or keep your weight under control, simply eating less isn't enough — exercise also plays a vital role in improving body composition and health.
One popular method of exercise that doesn't require any special equipment or training is walking, which can be done pretty much anywhere, at any time of day — even after dinner!
To know if walking after dinner is good or not, you first need to understand why we even walk after dinner. Some people walk because they want to lose weight, while others want to stay fit and active. This can be a confusing question if you don't know why you are walking in the first place, yet it's so simple to answer if you know why your body needs it. And here's what happens when you do walk after dinner!
Why you should walk after dinner?
- Walking immediately after eating aids digestion, preventing you from experiencing gas and bloating.
- It also helps your body process food efficiently, which will leave you with less weight gain over time.
- It's best to walk for about 15 minutes or up a small hill at an easy pace, which will work up a light sweat. That way, your body can relax and digest food effectively.
Be sure not to exercise too vigorously right after eating, as that may cause cramping or discomfort.
Related: 8 walking mistakes to avoid
Follow This If You Don't Have Time To Walk?
If you don't have time to walk right away, try sitting in a chair with your feet on another chair while leaning back comfortably. This is called resting with knees raised (RKR), and it eases pressure on your digestive system while allowing fluids and nutrients to pass through easily.
If you do these things consistently, you will see results! You might lose weight over time if you add walking after dinner to your daily routine. After all, losing weight is balancing energy consumed versus energy expended. The more active you are throughout each day—even by taking short walks—the more calories you burn and the less likely it is that extra calories will be stored as fat in your body.
Also check: Is walking good for lower back pain?
Myths about walking after eating
There are several myths about walking immediately after eating, from stories about weight gain and heartburn—neither of which have been proven. You should be concerned about refraining from walking if you're going straight to bed (as in, don't eat a big meal and then go out for a post-dinner walk). Wait a few hours until your stomach settles before heading out. If you can, try briskly walking up and down some stairs.
Benefits of walking for 10 minutes
Walking is a great way to improve digestion and ease the pain. You may have noticed that your body feels looser when you go for a walk and tightens up again when you stop moving. This is because blood vessels constrict during physical activity. But once you stop moving, blood flow increases again, causing muscles in your abdomen and other organs that are dependent on circulation (such as intestines) to relax.
#1. Boosts digestion
You will digest your food better, as you get a little bit of exercise during digestion. Exercise helps move things along in your digestive tract and prevents constipation.
#2. Provides energy
You will feel more energized if you walk for 10-15 minutes after eating. Walking helps get the blood flowing throughout your body, including your digestive organs.
#3. Enhances mental clarity
It's a great way to clear your head and think about things on your mind. Walking might also help increase brain power.
#4. Burns calories
If you are trying to lose weight, walking is a great way to burn some extra calories!
#5. Great stress reliever
It's a great way to get some fresh air and take in your surroundings! It's also a great stress reliever.
#6. Might help you socialize
It's a great way to meet new people, as you are out in public and might run into someone you know while walking around!
#7. Promotes better sleep
You will sleep better at night if you walk for 10-15 minutes before bed.
#8. Connects you with nature
Walking is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy nature!
#9. Corrects your posture
If you have back pain, walking can help improve your posture by strengthening your core muscles.
#10. Releases muscle tension
It's a great way to relieve tension in your body and stretch out tight muscles.
How long should I walk?
Ideally, you'll walk 15-20 minutes after each meal. This helps prevent bloating and indigestion because your body is more likely to process food quicker when active. After a light meal, try walking for 10-15 minutes; aim for 25-30 minutes of walking at a moderate pace after a heavy meal. If you're not used to exercising regularly, start slow with a short distance or time frame until your body adjusts.
Also, consider any physical limitations that may hinder your ability to walk. For example, if you have arthritis in your knees or hips—or other joints—you might need to stick to lower intensity activities. In these cases, check out these exercises that help relieve pain naturally!
Intensity of walk
Are you running or just walking briskly? Your post-meal walks should be intense enough that you can't maintain a conversation with someone but not so intense that your breathing becomes labored.
If you find yourself talking in bursts of more than three or four words at a time, then slow down! You're working too hard. While you might burn more calories while walking with increased intensity, research suggests that digestion is improved by moderate exercise. So take it easy!
Walking is a healthy habit. It's also an effective way to help you lose weight. But should you walk immediately after eating? Some people say yes, while others say no. The reality is that walking doesn't cause harm and, if done in moderation, can be very beneficial for your health. While not everyone agrees on when to walk or how long to walk for, there are some benefits of walking after eating that many experts agree on—and those benefits are worth considering before making any decisions about when and how long to walk after dinner.