At the end of the day, when you are exhausted, it’s tempting to crash on the bed, immediately post your meal. Or, simply relax on your couch to watch your favorite soap or latest Netflix series. But, in the times when there was no idiot box, or internet, taking a walk after dinner, and walking after meals, was a common practice.
Walking after meals has multiple benefits, but discussing walking would be out of the context of our topic. We would stick to the benefits of walking after meals, and how this age-old tradition is not just good, but scientifically proven to be extremely beneficial for weight loss, controlling blood sugar, improving digestion and enhancing family bonding. Let’s discuss the 4 major benefits of walking after meals.
Researchers found that twenty minutes of self-paced walking done shortly after meal consumption resulted in lower glucose levels at the end of exercise compared to values at the same time point when subjects had walked pre-dinner. Thus, Postprandial walking may be more effective at lowering the glycaemic impact of the evening meal in individuals with type 2 diabetes compared with pre-meal or no exercise.
Researchers found that both sustained morning walking and walking after meals significantly improved 24h glycaemic control. Moreover, walking after meals were significantly more effective than 45min of sustained morning or afternoon walking in lowering 3h post-dinner glucose.
The key clinically significant findings of this study are as follows: 1) both pre- and post-dinner RE reduces postprandial glucose concentrations, while only post-dinner RE reduces both postprandial glucose and TAG concentrations; 2) both pre- and post-dinner RE reduces insulin concentrations, but via different mechanisms, as predinner RE enhances estimated insulin clearance, whereas post-dinner RE reduces estimated insulin secretion and enhances estimated insulin clearance. Taken together, post-dinner RE is more effective at improving postprandial CVD risk factors compared with predinner RE in obese patients with type 2 diabetes.
Researchers found that the post-meal blood glucose was significantly lower when participants did walking after meals compared with on a single daily occasion. The improvement was particularly striking after the evening meal when the most carbohydrate was consumed and sedentary behaviours were highest.
Researchers concluded that postprandial exercise may be an effective way to improve glucose control in individuals with type 2 diabetes. The most consistent benefits were seen in long-duration (≥45 min), moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. Resistance training also appears to be an effective modality. We recommend that individuals with type 2 diabetes focus on increasing energy expenditure after the largest meal of the day.
Mayo Clinic diabetes specialist Dr. Yogish Kudva says that even a little physical activity after meals has a profound impact on blood sugar levels… You don’t have to exercise a lot. Just walking the dog or washing the dishes after a meal, rather than going straight from the table to the TV, helps blood sugar control in people with Diabetes. Physical activity enhances insulin action hence lowering blood glucose concentration.
Dr. Kudva suggested that after a meal a person’s blood sugar climbs to mountainous levels. It peaks after about 60min and then reduces for the next few hours. The body handles this spike by manufacturing more insulin, which pushes the sugar into the “stand and walks” muscles of the body like the buttocks, trunk and thighs. He, further states that the food you eat needs to be delivered to the muscles to be used for active work.
Kudva, further states that all the cell and molecular mechanisms are built on the premise that the body moves all the time because we work physically. That’s the whole problem; today we eat three meals and sit all day. When we sit all day, the surplus fuel is washing around the bloodstream like a massive oil slick in the ocean. Now, because there is hardly any physical activity, the body is not using all the sugar in the blood, so the pancreas sends in even more insulin to use this sugar. This overexposure to insulin reduces the sensitivity of insulin and leads to the stage of prediabetes and ultimately diabetes.
Researchers found that walking after meals were more effective for weight loss than waiting one hour after eating before walking. For people who do not experience abdominal pain, fatigue, or other discomforts when walking after meals, walking at a brisk speed for 30 minutes as soon as possible just after lunch and dinner lead to more weight loss than does walking for 30 minutes beginning one hour after a meal has been consumed.
Researchers found that gastric emptying time i.e. time of how quickly food leaves the stomach was not affected by postprandial consumption of alcoholic or other beverages. However, postprandial walking accelerated gastric emptying of the meal.
However, we need to understand that these effects get negated if the intensity of the workouts increases, post meals.
The study demonstrated that gastric emptying is increased during both moderate intensity walking or running exercise as compared to resting conditions. Increases in gastric emptying during moderate intensity treadmill exercise may be related to increases in intragastric pressure brought about by the contractile activity of the abdominal muscles.
There is a very strong reason why having dinner together as a family was, and still is practiced in many places. Dinner time is a time for bonding of family. When a family used to sit for dinner, they used to share the happenings and mishappenings, the good and the ugly, and the happy and the sad happenings of the day.
The family members used to eat and laugh together. This used to continue when the entire family used to go for a walk post dinner, where they used to plan the next day. The couple used to discuss various ideas and issues pertaining to work and life. Children used to share their experiences with their parents, and the parents used to give them words of wisdom to be applied in their lives. That’s how the family bonded.
Not anymore. With the advent of the idiot box and equally idiot soaps on the television, and further the internet, forget about eating dinner together, the family members don’t even talk to each other for days. It’s not surprising that family members living under one roof, do not see or talk to each other for days.
It’s not possible to have dinner together for most families, let’s accept this fact practically. It can be due to varied work hours, or some other commitments. But the simplest and a very practical way to ensure that this culture is nurtured again is through post-dinner walks.
A senior or an authoritative member of the family can ensure, that whichever members of the family are present in the house, should be going for a small post-dinner stroll together. Initially, it may have to enforced and ensured, but once the habits sets in, they would hate to miss it. The health benefits, of course, are complementary.
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