Health

7 Reasons To Take a Walk After Dinner

Tinay wears a BOMBVINOS t-shirt, JACQUEMUS skirt, NIKE x COMME DES GARCONS shoes. Styled by Andrea Ang. Photo by Renzo Navarro

Lately, you can’t scroll social media without seeing a post proclaiming the benefits of taking a walk after dinner. It’s not fake news either; even taking a quick post-meal walk can improve your health. Read on to find out how taking a short walk after eating can improve everything from your digestion to your relationships to your mood. They’re all so good you’ll definitely be inspired to skip the sofa, throw on a pair of sneakers, and head out for an evening stroll. Make it a new healthy habit, why don’t you?

The benefits of walking after dinner

1. Aids digestion

Dinner is often the most difficult meal to digest, precisely because it is usually followed by an almost total absence of movement—especially since most of us end up lying prone on the sofa afterwards to catch up on our favorite shows. While that’s extremely relaxing, it does absolutely nothing to help the digestion of food. But walking at a regular pace is a low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise and, as such, stimulates blood circulation and promotes the transit of food through the digestive system and stimulates the gut, which in turn prevents digestion problems. In fact, engaging in light movement after eating has been shown to prevent everything from heartburn to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to diverticular disease to constipation and even colorectal cancer. It may also help with everyone’s most dreaded digestive issue: bloating.

2. Burns calories

We all know it’s probably best to stick to light fare in the evening, but let’s face it—that’s not always possible and it’s not always fun. For most of us, dinner is often the most important meal of the day and definitely the one from which we derive the greatest amount of satisfaction and pleasure. But a delicious dinner out (which is often accompanied by a cocktail or glass of wine, no judgment) can also pack a high-calorie bunch. An evening walk can counteract the effect. Although walking is not an intense activity, it does help keep the metabolism active and increases overall physical fitness—and can even counteract some of the negative effects of prolonged sitting.

3. Reduces stress

Walking after dinner is a panacea not only for the health of the body, but also for the mind. After the daily stressors of work, life, and gosh knows what else, walking offers the opportunity to reconnect with yourself and the world around you; to find balance and relax. Additionally, exercise stimulates the brain to produce endorphins, which can go miles in terms of helping to improve a low mood.

4. Increases connection

Speaking of connection, taking a walk after dinner is not only an excellent opportunity to be alone but can also have considerable relational benefits when done with someone else. It offers an opportunity to have a calm conversation with your partner or to confide with a friend; it’s a chance to discuss and share thoughts that might otherwise go unsaid. It’s even been shown to strengthen relationships. After all, what’s more romantic than a moonlight stroll?

5. Improves sleep quality

The importance of a good night’s rest for both physical and mental health cannot be stressed enough. Insufficient sleep or poor sleep quality not only affects energy levels during waking hours, but, according to experts, can also lead to poor eating and lifestyle habits as well as increased stress levels. In the long term, chronic lack of sleep is linked to health problems including heart disease, hypertension, depression, and diabetes. But walking after dinner can help regulate the circadian rhythm and in turn help prepare the body for deep, restful, uninterrupted sleep.

6. Supports cardiovascular health

Regular physical activity is one of the most important practices for heart and circulatory system health. In this regard, walking is a low-impact—but still very useful—cardio exercise. A walk after dinner, in fact, promotes blood circulation and reduces blood pressure and the risk of heart problems.

7. Regulates blood glucose levels

If you are worried about your blood sugar levels (blood sugar is the amount of glucose in your blood), adding an evening walk to your daily routine can be a great strategy to keep everything balanced. Walking helps stabilize blood sugar levels and improves sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that lowers blood sugar.

When to walk and for how long

Glucose peaks 72 minutes after eating, so it’s important to take an evening walk within 60 minutes of dinner. The length of the walk is up to you—even walking for just 10 minutes has been shown to have an impact on digestion. But if you want max benefits, aim for 30 minutes at a steady, brisk pace.

In any case, taking a walk after dinner really just takes a few extra minutes—and the willpower to delay the satisfaction of lounging on your sofa immediately after dinner. The benefits are well worth the sacrifice. Your body and mind will definitely thank you.

This article was originally published on Vogue.com

Digital Editor and Stylist: Andrea Ang. Photographer: Renzo Navarro. Makeup Artists: Karmela Jabla and Patricia Remoquillo of MAC Cosmetics PH. Hairstylist: Noel Muncada of Toni&Guy PH. Producer: Bianca Zaragoza. Editorial Associate: Patricia Co. Nails: Extraordinail. Digital Multimedia Artist: Bea Lu. Digital Fashion Writer: Chelsea Sarabia. Models: Christina Montelibano and Maita Hagad
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