It has been brutally cold in the mid-west. I do not feel like going out of the house let alone go to the gym. However, I came across a bit of advice that seems like a very good idea for the late winter/spring Lenten disciplines that I’ve been writing about for a few days.
Walk after every meal. That’s right, a walk after you eat. Check this out….
For many people, the stupor that often follows a big meal is a good excuse for a nap. But for most of us, a short walk just after eating is a quick way to burn calories and aid digestion.
Over the years, researchers have found that a post-meal walk, as short as 15 minutes, can in fact help with digestion and improve blood sugar levels. In one study in 2008, German researchers looked at what happened when people ate a large meal and then consumed either an espresso or an alcoholic beverage or they walked at a slow pace for fifteen minutes. Walking, they found, sped the rate at which food moved through the stomach. And began to burn calories. The beverages had no effect.
In other studies, researchers have found that walking has a significant effect on blood sugar after meals. Blood sugar typically rises and then falls after eating, but large spikes and variations can raise cardiovascular risk and potentially create other health problems. You could walk at the office. Walk to and from lunch. Walk around the block three times before going back to work. Invite a friend to meet you for a light lunch and then take a walk.
In another study, researchers found that a 20-minute walk about 15 minutes after dinner led to lower post-meal blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes than either a walk before dinner or no walking at all. Another study, published recently in Diabetes Care, found that in older adults who were overweight and sedentary, walking for 15 minutes shortly after each meal improved daily blood sugar levels to a greater extent than a single 45-minute walk in the morning.
So how about it. Lenten walks after the three meals. Great for you and if you can walk and chew gum at the same time you can pray and walk at the same time. Four days until the start of Lent.