How a Post-Dinner Walk Can Change Your Health
After dinner, there are usually a lot of things to do—pick up the house, relax in front of the TV, help your kids with homework, prep food for the next day’s lunches. But why not put all that off for a little and go on an after-dinner walk with your family instead? Taking a stroll around your neighborhood may be one of the best things you can do for your health—both physical and mental.
- It aids digestion. Heading out for a walk can help the food you just ate move through your stomach faster. As a result, you’ll feel less full when you go to bed (and might even have less heartburn).
- It is a good time to reconnect. Taking a walk with your family is a great way to remove distractions and catch up. Use the time to talk about your child’s day or anything that is on their mind.
- It improves your blood sugar. Blood sugar levels typically rise after eating a meal, but large spikes can raise your risk for cardiovascular issues. Studies have shown walks after meals can help to regulate your blood sugar levels.
- It burns calories. Walking for 30 minutes can burn as many as 200 calories. Pick up the speed or walk up hills to burn even more.
- It gets you away from screens. Don’t look at your phone, don’t listen to music. Use the walk to think, wave at neighbors, talk to your spouse, or check in on your kids. Walking is a great time to discuss bigger issues and make sure everything is okay with your loved ones.
- It reduces stress. By the end of the day, most people feel wound pretty tight. Research shows that walking is the perfect antidote to that – it can calm your nerves, improve bad moods, and even enhance self-esteem.
- It helps you sleep better. If you’re one of those people who tosses and turns at night, a walking habit may be just what you need. Regular exercise can, over time, turn you into a better sleeper. Just don’t walk too close to bedtime or you might have the opposite effect!
In other words, taking a walk instead of hitting the couch post-dinner is going to do nothing but good things for your health.
Photo Credit: Doug Floyd