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Move After Meals

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It’s long been common wisdom that a bit of a stroll after a meal feels good.  It’s easy to feel sleepy after a meal, when your body goes into digestion mode.  But some new research even shows how moving for only a few minutes can be good for you.

From an August, 2022 NY Times article:

“Walking after a meal, conventional wisdom says, helps clear your mind and aids in digestion. Scientists have also found that going for a 15-minute walk after a meal can reduce blood sugar levels, which can help ward off complications such as Type 2 diabetes. But, as it turns out, even just a few minutes of walking can activate these benefits.

In a meta-analysis, recently published in the journal Sports Medicine, researchers looked at the results of seven studies that compared the effects of sitting versus standing or walking on measures of heart health, including insulin and blood sugar levels. They found 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.
“Each small thing you do will have benefits, even if it is a small step,” said Dr. Kershaw Patel, a preventive cardiologist at Houston Methodist Hospital who was not involved in the study.”

In addition to the benefit in managing blood sugar, it would also be helpful to move to help with nutrient absorption from the food you’ve eaten.

Practical tips:

  • Every time you eat, get up and move gently and lightly for at least 5 minutes, but up to 30 minutes.
  • This is a perfect time to take the dog for a walk.
  • If you don’t have time to walk, at least try to stand up instead of sitting down.
  • Eat your bedtime meal at least an hour and preferably 2-3 hours before bed.

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Scott


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