Walking after dinner is not bad. In fact, walking is one of the best things you can do for your and your family's health. You can walk almost anytime or anywhere. You need no special equipment other than a comfortable pair of shoes. Everyone should exercise at least 30 minutes a day for good health. The good news is the time you spend walking is cumulative, and even a 10-minute after-dinner walk with your family counts toward that important half-hour of exercise.
Walking after meals can improve that uncomfortable, bloated feeling you might get from eating too much -- the one that makes your family feel like walking only as far as the couch. An after-dinner walk improves digestion and helps prevent constipation. Using the walking muscles relieves the pressure and bloating by releasing air trapped in your intestines. Walking as part of your regular physical activity can also reduce your risk for colon cancer.
Energy and Sleep
After a busy day, you might want to do nothing more after dinner than to plop down with your kids and watch TV. Consider a short walk instead. It can give you the energy you need to play with your kids before you tuck them into bed. Take them with you so they can benefit too. Regular exercise increases energy and, conversely, helps improve sleep -- you can fall asleep faster and sleep deeper and longer. But do not wait too long after dinner or overdo your walking pace or you may be too energized to fall asleep easily.
A mom in a good mood makes the day more pleasant for everyone. So if you are feeling crabby after a long day, take a walk after dinner. Leave the kids at home, if you can, and enjoy some down time. Walking releases the happy hormones, called endorphins, which decrease stress and elevate your mood. Regular walks, at any time of the day, can even help combat depression and anxiety.
An after-dinner walk can be a part of the regular physical activity that helps prevent heart disease and other medical conditions. Walking lowers your risk for high blood pressure and can reduce blood pressure that is already high. It increases heart strength and lung capacity. By helping to control your weight, it can prevent obesity and the chronic diseases that go along with it, such as type 2 diabetes. If you or your children are already obese, walking can help you lose weight and reduce your risk for those diseases.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity for Everyone
- "Flat Belly Diet"; Liz Vaccariello; 2008
- Fitness.gov: Blue Cross Blue Shield Association -- Walking Works
- Mayo Clinic: Exercise -- 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity
- City of Phoenix: Creating a Healthy Community
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Healthy Places -- Physical Activity
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