Walk after meals. Stand and move after you eat. You’ve probably heard this advice somewhere. But does it really work?
If the goal is preventing diabetes, it seems to prove true—at least for a group of folks studied by Dr. Loretta Di Pietro at George Washington University.
People 60 and over at risk for type diabetes—with the extremely common “prediabetes” picture of high fasting sugar—were asked to walk. They did it two different ways—for 15 minutes after meals, or for one 45 minute session in the evening.
Both walking “interventions” improved glucose tolerance. People produced less insulin following the meal. Internal sugar levels were more balanced.Yet the blunting of high glucoses after eating was done most effectively when people walked immediately after meals. Insulin peaks peaker lower than with the single 45 minute session.
And when people walked after the evening meal, instead of seeing sugars rise for hours and hours throughout the night, they came back to normal levels quickly. Just from a little bit of walking.
For what ails most of those who suffer from type 2 diabetes is not lack of insulin production. It’s insulin resistance—effectively a learned inability for insulin to work. In most people with type 2 diabetes production of insulin is already high—sometimes very high. It’s just that less and less of it works as messenger to let glucose in through your cell membranes to help power your cells.
In other words, type 2 diabetics are producing huge amounts of insulin—but that insulin does not have the full chance to act.
Walking after meals can dramatically shift the equation. It can decrease insulin resistance and make your body act like it’s built to do—eat, move, and rest. What I call FAR—Food-Activity-Rest.
And there’s more.
Benefits of Walking After Meals
A. If you walk after a meal you can cut back on esophageal reflux.
For when you walk, you’re standing and moving. Food flows down into gut. Gravity helps keep acid in your stomach—not jumping outside it.
That stomach acid can be ferocious. People with reflux have higher rates of esophageal cancer.
You might cut your risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease—GERD, in half—just by walking after meals.
B. You can obtain better weigh control.
Walk after a meal and the insulin peaks are less. Most folks I know want less belly fat—and here is a simple way to get it.
C. Walking immediately following the evening meal may yet more effectively control weight.
Why? Circadian effects. Eat at night and glucose and fat levels go higher in your blood than earlier during the day.
That’s particularly important to shift workers, who gain weight disproportionately by eating at times when others are resting or asleep. When you snack at night you need to get going—fast.
D. Walking makes people feel better.
Walking in light improves mood. Walking with friends increases social support. Walking in the evening can cut back on the frequent leg kicks that wake many folks all through the night, worsening their sleep—and making them hungrier come morning for fattier, sugary foods.
Walking in sunlight also helps grow brain cells—in memory areas. If you’re worried about Alzheimer’s disease, that’s something to remember.
Want to prevent Diabetes? Alzheimer’s Disease? Heart Disease? Stroke? Weight gain? Various tumors? Improve mood? Feel slimmer?
It’s all about going FAR—Food, followed by Activity, followed by Rest. It’s a natural rhythm of human beings.And using natural rhythms can make your body—naturally—feel and look better.Plus improve your chances of sticking around. Giving you a better chance to enjoy it all.