Looking to add more movement to your day, improve blood sugar or aid digestion?
Have you considered practicing “digestive walks”? Taking a 15-minute walk after meals has been shown to lower after-meal blood sugar levels. Another study found that walking after consuming a large meal moved food through the digestive tract more quickly as compared to those who did not walk. Anecdotally, many people find that removing themselves from the food environment (i.e. kitchen or dining area) and changing ‘activity gears’ helps to prevent over-eating.
This concept of adding a smaller stint (15 minutes) of movement to your day may be or feel more feasible to your schedule or fitness level than walking for a larger chunk of time (i.e. 30 minutes), yet can have comparable benefits to your health when you break up the total time into 2 stints during your day.
Want to give it a shot? When planning, consider your own reality. Do you anticipate getting away for 15 minutes after each meal? If not, identify which meal this may be most feasible; can you take your dog on a walk after breakfast, walk a few blocks after lunch during your lunch hour, or go for a stroll with the family after dinner? Pinpointing a certain meal will give you some accountability and focus versus winging it altogether. After you have success getting into a grove, you can increase the number of days per week or even meals per day. Let your health advisor know if you need support around goal setting, or share feedback from your own experiences with digestive walks!
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– KEELEY MEZZANCELLO, MS, RD, CSCS