We probably don’t have to tell you twice that walking is good for your overall health. Getting up and moving on a regular basis is one of the best ways to keep your body functioning to the best of its ability. Taking daily walks can help promote heart health, stronger bones and muscles, and even protect your body from serious health risks like diabetes and stroke. Of course, it can also help you shed pounds and slim down.
As you may already know, one of the best times to walk is right after meals, as this can aid digestion and lower blood sugar levels. But how long, exactly, should you walk to reap those benefits? As it turns out, it may be way shorter than you would imagine. In fact, according to the New York Times, walking for as little as 2 minutes can make a huge difference in your health.
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Walking For Just 2 Minutes Can Lower Blood Sugar
If you don’t love the idea of taking an hour long walk after every meal, we have some good news: in a meta-analysis conducted by the journal Sports Medicine, seven studies showed that “light walking after a meal, in increments of as little as two to five minutes, had a significant impact in moderating blood sugar levels.”
As the New York Times states, “all seven studies showed that just a few minutes of light-intensity walking after a meal were enough to significantly improve blood sugar levels compared to, say, sitting at a desk or plopping down on the couch. When participants went for a short walk, their blood sugar levels rose and fell more gradually.” That sounds like a total game changer!
But how exactly does that affect weight loss? Your blood sugar levels play a major role in how easily your body burns fat. Blood sugar spikes make it difficult to lose weight because they require your body to produce more insulin, and you can only burn fat while your insulin levels drop. For this reason, the gradual rise and fall in blood sugar that an after-dinner walk can do wonders for your waistline.
Other Benefits Of Walking After Meals
Dietitian Trista Best tells us there are several other added benefits of walking after meals that can lead to more weight loss in the long run. “Taking up walking on a regular basis can help reduce weight while also improving joint, hip, and knee pain,” she says. “This is because walking increases joint lubrication and strengthens the muscles that support and protect them.”
Additionally, getting your body up and moving on a regular basis “will improve and strengthen your respiratory system,” which can “decrease your risk of getting sick with respiratory illnesses” and “ultimately improve your immune health.” As Best notes, “All of these benefits will ultimately lead to weight loss as you are able to walk with more endurance and greater incline.” Finally, taking a short stroll after eating can also help improve digestive health, which Best says “can lead to reduced bloating and weight loss.” Nice!
Overall, this is great news for anyone looking for a new fat-blasting habit to pick up. We’ll definitely be walking around the block after lunch today!