The following is adapted from The #1 Amazon Best Selling Book: The 77 Laws of Six Pack Abs by Peter Tzemis & Stephen Campolo.
After you eat a satisfying meal, what’s the first thing you do? Chances are you sit back, rest, and give yourself a moment to digest. Unfortunately, this is not doing you any good, and it could be slowing down your digestion and putting you at increased risk of diseases like diabetes.
Fortunately, there’s an easy fix, and it’s inspired by cigarette smokers. Smokers have an uncanny ability to stay lean. One of the reasons, of course, is that cigarettes help suppress hunger. The other reason is that they get fresh air and don’t sit as much, because they take smoking breaks every few hours. Now, don’t take this the wrong way.
I’m not telling you to pick up a smoking habit. However, I am telling you to move more and get fresh oxygen, as much as possible. This is especially true after eating.
The worst thing anyone can do is to sit or lay down after they eat a meal. Research has shown that walking and getting fresh oxygen for ten minutes after eating helps to speed up the time it takes from the food to move from the stomach into the small intestine.
Once you learn about how a post-meal smoker’s break can lower the risk of diabetes, benefit your heart and digestive system, and potentially help you lose weight, you’ll have an important piece of a successful fitness plan that is often overlooked.
Walking After a Meal Can Lower the Risk of Diabetes
One small study co-authored by Loretta DiPietro, a professor of exercise science at GeorgeWashington University’s Milken InstituteSchool of Public Health, found that when older adults at risk for type 2 diabetes walked on a treadmill for 15 minutes after a meal, they had smaller blood sugar spikes in the hours afterward. In fact, the researchers found that these short post-meal walks were even more effective at lowering blood sugar after dinner than a single 45-minute walk taken at mid-morning or late in the afternoon.
DiPietro points out that many of us eat our largest meal of the day in the evening, and we also tend to sit around afterward. As a result, “blood glucose levels will rise very high and will stay elevated for hours,” she says. So, what good does walking do after eating a meal?
“The muscles we use to walk use glucose as energy, drawing it out of circulation and therefore reducing how much is floating around,” says Andrew Reynolds, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Otagoin New Zealand. Walking after a meal increases insulin sensitivity.
This means your body will secrete less of it. Insulin is a storage hormone, so anytime your body is able to secrete less insulin, this will benefit you when it comes to getting lean.
Moving After a Meal Benefits Your Heart and Digestive System
Going for a walk after eating a meal could be good for your heart as well.
A New Zealand study suggests that small windows of activity could be more beneficial for your heart compared to one continuous session. Multiple studies have shown that going on three 10-minute walks every day can lower blood pressure levels.
Moving and walking after a meal also helps your body to encourage the digestion process to move along faster. Having more efficient digestion means better overall health. So, try taking a smoker’s break and walk for ten minutes after each meal. If you eat three times per day, this could be 30 minutes of walking. This alone can burn an additional 200-300 calories per day.
Can Walking After a Meal Help You Lose Weight?
One of the most important things to keep in mind when losing weight is the idea of a calorie deficit. That means that you’re burning more calories than you’re taking in. If you eat 1,800 calories a day and burn 2,000, you’re likely to lose weight. Depending on how many calories you consume, your existing weight loss regimen, and how far and how often you walk after a meal, these smoker’s breaks could be a valuable piece in your weight loss plan.
Ideally, the best time to go for a walk is as soon as possible after the meal is finished to help with digestion and blood sugar management. Try to walk for 10 minutes to get the best benefits. If you walk for too long, you could overexert yourself and cause an upset stomach. Same goes for jogging instead of walking: too much intensity could disrupt your body’s digestion process.
Complete Your Fitness Plan With a Smoker’s Break
It’s a simple step to take with multiple health benefits. By getting up and moving around after a meal, you can:
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Speed up the digestion process
- Burn calories and potentially lose weight
- Get some fresh air
- Lower blood pressure and reduce risk of heart problems
Take a tip from the smokers: instead of sitting down and relaxing after a meal, get your body up and moving. This could be the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to reaching your fitness goals, and it only takes a few minutes. No cigarettes necessary.
For more advice on losing weight and getting into killer shape, you can find The 77 Laws of Six Pack Abs on Amazon.
Peter Tzemis is a bestselling author and internet marketer. He started his journey in fitness in 2015, learning how to carve the body of a Greek god. While getting his bachelor’s degree in health sciences, he wrote his first fitness book, Anabolic Stretching, which sold over 5,000 copies in the first few months. Since then, he’s gone on to write multiple books in the health space and become a partner in one of the internet’s most prominent health and fitness websites: romanfitnesssytems.com. Today, he actively plays a role in selling over $50 million worth of online products in various niches. He also blogs about his life lessons at petertzemis.com and his marketing lessons at beatyourcontrol.com. For more about Peter, head over to petertzemis.com.
Macy Parker is a freelance journalist based in Ottawa. Macy has written for the Vancouver Sun, Reader’s Digest, CBC Online,, Rogers Media and others. When Macy isn’t busy writing, she’s working as a PSW in an aging care facility in Lavel. Macy mostly covers stories concerning vulnerable patients