We’re walking all the time, we walk to work, we walk to school, we walk every single day. It’s surprising to think that walking in different parts of the day can benefit you in separate ways. One highly beneficial time to consider walking is after having a meal, regardless of if it’s breakfast lunch or dinner.
There are numerous benefits of walking after eating such as boosting your metabolism, reducing stress and bringing about some of them good ol’ endorphins (Feel good chemical).
In this post, I’ve collected what I believe are the 7 most amazing benefits of walking after eating. According to the professional that is, I’m just a guinea pig! I’ve also included two benefits which I’ve noticed myself after started a walking routine.
At the end of the post, I cover what works best for me and the benefits that I’ve seen from doing this myself. I hope you stick around and comment on if you’ve ever tried this yourself. I’d love to hear from you.
Benefits of Walking After Eating
1. Boosts The "Feel Good" Chemical, Endorphins
Do you remember those feel-good feelings that you get after a solid workout? Where you walk outside into the fresh air and it feels like everything’s going to be OK? Those, my friends – are endorphins.
Endorphins are the feel-good chemicals of the brain. They are neurochemicals that decrease your stress levels, making you feel euphoric. Endorphin boosts have helped many individuals, including myself, combat mental health issues.
See the below image of brain activity after a 20-minute walk:
Credit: Dr. Chuck Hillman, University of Illinois
2. Shifts Your Metabolism to First Gear
By going from a neutral sedentary position, and moving the machine known as the human body you’re burning energy from the get-go. You do this by boosting your metabolism. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends walking as a safe aerobic exercise to reduce obesity.
You can try increasing your intensity by doing a power-walk if you don’t experience a stitch or cramp in your stomach as a result of this. The faster your metabolism, the more calories you will burn as your body attempts to source more energy.
3. Improves Your Blood Flow
A recent study done by Science Daily states that the impact of the foot on the floor sends waves of pressure through the arteries that can improve the flow of blood to the most important muscle, the brain.
By increasing blood flow to the brain, you’re essentially bringing nutrients to your cells whilst also flushing out toxins from your body.
4. Promotes Weight Loss
Hey, I’ll take it. If all the benefits that have already been covered aren’t enough to sway you towards a 20-minute walk after dinner then the physical side of it might be able to get your attention.
As with any form of exercise where you’re constantly moving your body, even walking will help you burn off those extra calories of unwanted weight.
Taking me as an example, there’s a bridge near my workplace where there are a ton of walkers and joggers using it every day. I’ve also made it a routine of when I’m not too swamped by work to go for a walk there. Because I’ve got a GPS fitness watch I also initiate the “Walk” exercise on it.
Through this, I can see the distance I’ve gone but also I can see how much calories I’ve burned from the walk. Going for a 30-minute walk during lunch shows me that I’ve burned more than 100 calories. All whilst listening to music and breathing in the fresh air, and of course – getting out of the office!
5. Helps Decrease Fatigue
When I was younger and still studying in college, we would often go out for a drink on a Friday night when there were no classes scheduled. We’ve all woken up with that hangover, haven’t we? One thing I’ve noticed though, whenever I went for a walk and had a breath of fresh air I felt amazing.
Turns out this is an actual thing. The University of Georgia conducted a study in which they claim that going for a 20-minute walk can increase energy levels by 20 percent and reduce fatigue by up to 65-percent.
I’ve always felt like this was the case, but having it confirmed gives me even more energy.
6. It’s A Good Way to Catch Up With A Loved One
Here’s one that I threw in here because sometimes we take it for granted. Going for a walk with your significant other helps boost chemistry in the relationship.
Oftentimes we follow the same routine, we go to work, we come home, we eat, we watch something and we go to sleep. Oftentimes we don’t even ask our partner how their days were or what’s going on in their world. We get wrapped up in your own little world and forget that these small things count.
Walking with my partner after dinner has greatly benefited the relationship as we take a step back and enjoy each other’s company. We listen to each other’s problems and what happened in our day and talking about things like these I’ve noticed, have really improved our relationship.
It doesn’t need to be with your spouse, you could go for a walk with your mother, father, brother, sister or even a friend. Having someone to walk and converse with is an amazing way to pass time beneficially.
7. Walking Helps You Sleep Better!
I’ve talked about it before, but my sleep isn’t the best. Also, I can’t exercise in strenuous cardiovascular activity at night because it really keeps my body from staying still. This is why I choose to train in the mornings.
A study has shown that walking promotes serotonin (The chemical that makes you happy) in the brain which in turn leads to melatonin in the brain. Melatonin is a hormone that lets your brain know it’s time for sleep by helping you stay calm before bed.
For me, since I don’t like to do high-intensity exercise before bed, walking is a great option. By walking I’m able to calm my body, come back home and watch something on TV (Which I love to do) before falling into an amazingly deep sleep.
As we’re fairly busy throughout most of the day with exercise, work or picking up the kids the most beneficial time to take a walk could be after dinner. Of course, this depends on when you work out, as a morning runner the dinner time walk would be of most benefit to me.
You might not even be someone that works out, you could just be looking for other ways to be healthy. It’s needless to say that stepping outside in the fresh air and going for a 20-minute walk can provide you with heaps of benefits.
Me personally, I’m already burning energy before and after lunch due to my work and training schedule. But when I’m at home and I just had a big dinner with my wife what we’d normally love to do is make friends with the couch, switch on Netflix watching our favorite shows Bondi Rescue or any E.R (Emergency Room) related show.
Instead of doing that (at least instantly), we take our baby girl for a walk outside to the new park that’s been developed next door to us. The amazing benefit I’ve seen from this is that I feel like my stomach works through my food faster.
Of course, the number one benefit to me is seeing the smile on my baby girl’s face when she’s enjoying herself in the park. It’s a win, win situation.
So have you tried walking after eating? What has it done for you?
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.