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Walking After Meals is a Healthy Idea

July 1, 2013
Plain English Version

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What is the best thing to do after eating a big meal? Take a nap or take a walk? If you answered “take a walk” you were right.

Researchers have found that a post-meal walk, even as short as 15 minutes, can help digestion and improve blood sugar levels.

Blood sugar is the amount of glucose in your blood. Glucose produces energy for the brain. It also sends signals to the brain that you are hungry.

If the body does not maintain normal levels of glucose and blood sugar levels drop too low, it can cause a potentially dangerous condition called hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can lead to diabetes.

Blood sugar usually rises and then falls after a meal. If the change is great enough and variable, it could signal heart risk and possibly diabetes. Researchers found that a 20-minute walk about 15 minutes after dinner led to lower blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.

In an experiment, after people ate a large meal they walked on a treadmill. Walking increased the rate at which food moved through the stomach.

Another study about older adults who did not exercise much, found that walking for 15 minutes shortly after each meal improved daily blood sugar levels more than a single 45-minute walk in the morning.

Researchers conclude: heading for a brief walk, instead of the couch, about 15 minutes after a meal may improve digestion, control blood sugar and reduce the risks of heart disease and diabetes.

Source: The New York Times

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