Nutritionists say you should take a 10-minute break after a meal and not rush back to work. Between 30 minutes and three hours after a meal, a post meal walk outside or around the room can help your metabolic health greatly. Exercise can help keep blood sugar levels steady because muscles can use glucose from the bloodstream as fuel. Eating whole foods low in sugar and refined carbs can also help.
Recent studies show that a post meal walk can significantly lower overall insulin levels. Insulin helps our cells absorb glucose, but too much of it can be harmful. This is good for the long-term health of your metabolism.
The Link Between Exercise and Glucose
Your muscles indeed do most of the work of breaking down glucose. But scientists are still trying to determine all the factors affecting how glucose moves from the bloodstream to muscle cells.
When you exercise, your body can take in up to 50 times more glucose than when it is not doing anything. When you work out, your body needs more glucose for three main reasons: At the level of the cells, muscle contraction speeds up breathing and the heartbeat. This makes more blood flow to the muscles that are working.
When your muscles shorten or contract, they can take in more glucose through their membranes.
At the molecular level, exercise changes how enzymes that break down glucose act. Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which helps the body take in glucose, is first turned on when the body moves. When AMPK activity increases, TCB1D1, a protein that allows drive glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT4), which hooks into cell membranes and lets glucose enter the cell, is turned off.
As you work out, your heart sends more glucose-rich blood to your muscles, and the membranes of your muscles get better at absorbing glucose. Changes in chemical enzymes help the transport of glucose even more. Because these processes work together to give our muscles the glucose they need to keep going during a workout, our blood glucose levels go down.
Also, exercise makes it possible for muscle tissue to take in glucose without the help of insulin. Usually, your body needs to release insulin for glucose to get into cells. Since we want to keep insulin levels as stable as possible, we want to stop insulin from being released when glucose levels rise after meals. Insulin resistance can happen when insulin levels stay high for a long time (hyperinsulinemia).
After a meal is the best time to take a walk
The short answer is: It depends. Research shows that healthy people can benefit from walking up to 6 hours after a meal. But some people may need to start exercising sooner. Analysis of 51 studies published in Sports Medicine found that a single session of at least 30 minutes of continuous cardiac exercise within 6 hours of eating lowered glucose and insulin levels in the six hours after a meal compared to being at rest.
The most exciting thing about the study is that the glucose and insulin responses were only looked at in people who did not have a known metabolic disorder. The above explanations of how glucose is taken in showing why workout time is important. When you eat, glucose moves from your gut to your bloodstream. This raises the amount of sugar in your blood.
But when you start to exercise, that glucose is quickly taken up by your muscles, which lowers the amount of sugar in your blood. So, the glycemic balance of your body is affected by how quickly glucose from food gets into your bloodstream and how quickly you burn it off when you exercise.
The winner is moving right after eating: Blood glucose levels go down by walking and doing body-weight exercises. Even doing something as simple as standing upright after eating had a negligible effect. Activity before, after, or two hours after eating did not change how much glucose the participants were exposed to or how much it changed.
The Importance of How Fast and How Long You Walk After a Meal
Low- to moderate-intensity exercises, post meal walk like brisk walking, seems to be the best way to keep blood sugar levels in check after a meal. Part of the reason for this is that walking uses glucose, fatty acids, and protein from the body through a process called aerobic metabolism. So, when you post meal walk, eating you burn just enough glucose to keep your blood sugar from going up without making your body make more glucose.
On the other hand, high-intensity exercise depends on anaerobic metabolism, which only uses glucose as fuel. Since the muscles don’t have enough glucose, intense exercise triggers hormones that tell the liver to make more glucose to meet the body’s growing energy needs. So, it raises the amount of glucose in the blood. The authors of the study evaluation concluded that the best way to keep blood glucose levels in balance is to start an activity like a brisk walk 30 minutes after a meal and keep going for up to an hour.
Control the Level of Stress
Taking a post meal walk after you eat is good for your health in many ways. But it would help if you didn’t always choose to work out hard. As soon as a person starts to eat, the digestive process begins in the mouth and can last for hours. So, a hard and demanding workout can hurt your stomach. It could also make you feel sick to your stomach.
People should instead try to walk at a low to medium speed. They should try to get their heart rates up without working too hard and getting too tired. If you’ve never gone for a walk before eating, you should start with a stroll. Then, as you get used to this physical activity, you might be able to increase the speed and intensity gradually.
If it’s hard for someone to do this, they can break the distance into shorter post meal walk. Then, they can slowly add to the length as they get more fit and comfortable. People might also find it easier to fit shorter walks into their busy schedules. People should choose a walking distance that is convenient and easy.
Benefits of Walking After Meals
1. Cuts down on bloating and gas
A 2020 study found that people with irritable bowel syndrome feel better when they do moderate activities like gas and boating daily (IBS). The research shows that people whose daily step count goes from 4,000 to 9,500 can get rid of 50% of their symptoms.
Research shows that physical activity makes the digestive system work better. It makes moving food easier. Post meal walk helps relieve bloating because it sends some of the gas built up through your digestive system in a different direction.
It is a great way to get rid of gas and helps strengthen the abdominal muscles, which are good things. Also, post meal walks can help the food move through the stomach faster. So instead of staying in bed and relaxing after a big dinner that made you feel full and bloated, get up and go for a walk.
2. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Blood glucose levels go up after you eat, especially if you eat a lot of carbs. Usually, when blood sugar goes up for a short time, insulin is released, which controls and lowers it. People who don’t have diabetes usually have a rise in blood sugar after eating carbs. This is because sugar is made when the digestive system breaks down carbs. The sugar then goes into the blood. Sugar gives the brain and other cells in the body the energy they need to function.
A study from 2018 shows that the timing of post meal walks affects how much blood sugar you have after a meal. The research shows that a short walk after a meal lowers blood sugar more than a walk before a meal. But it’s important to note that this study also looked at young people who don’t have diabetes. Since it didn’t include information about the race of the people who took part, it may not be a good representation of a larger population.
3. Helps people’s minds
Post meal walk is an excellent way to improve mental health because it lowers stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Endorphins, which help relieve pain, are made by the body when you walk.
Studies show that this help relieves pain, improves mood, reduces stress, and helps people relax. But there isn’t much evidence to support the claim that walking, especially after a meal, is suitable for mental health. If this is the central benefit someone wants, they should try to go for a walk when it works best for them.
4. It helps you sleep
Any regular exercise can help you sleep better. One way to do this workout is to post meal walk. Research shows that for some people, working out every day may be just as good as taking sleeping pills. An older study found that adults fell asleep much faster when they worked out regularly for a long time.
But people who don’t have trouble sleeping can still benefit from taking a walk after dinner. By doing moderate aerobic activity during the day, a person can get more slow-wave or deep sleep at night. But strenuous activity can wake you up and make it hard to sleep.
5. Bringing down blood pressure
Studies show that regular exercise helps lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, which is good for heart health. Post meal walks can also protect against heart disease and stroke. For the best heart health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults do 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least five days a week.
People can easily reach this goal by taking a 30-minute walk after each meal or three 10-minute walks after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Studies show that taking a post meal walk after eating can help people control their blood sugar levels. A moderate amount of exercise daily can also help you sleep better, strengthen your heart, and eliminate gas and bloating.
6. Possible Problems with Walks After Meals
Most people feel safe and healthy when they go for a walk. But studies show that some people may get stomachaches, feel tired, or have other problems if they go for a post meal walk right after they eat. It can happen when food moves around in the stomach, making digestion harder. Some people might find it better to wait before walking after a big lunch.
Depending on the person and the size of the meal, a certain amount of time should pass. Everyone’s digestion is different, so people should pay attention to how they feel after eating and figure out what works best for them.
Wrapping It Up
The post meal walk is good for your health because it helps you sleep better and control your blood sugar. You can also keep your blood pressure in check by post meal walk often. But there isn’t much research on the benefits of walking after a meal. Walking is good for your health, no matter what time of day. People should choose the kind, speed, and length of post meal walk that feels best to them.