Instinctively, we know walking is good for you: It gets your body moving, your heart pumping, and it can even help promote levels of calm. But did you know getting your steps in can actually support healthy blood sugar balance?
Just ask the king of keto, Dom D’Agostino, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of South Florida (who focuses on neuropharmacology, medical biochemistry, physiology, and neuroscience). As he declares on the mindbodygreen podcast, a casual stroll after dinner “can cut the glycemic response in half.” No matter if you follow a ketogenic diet, it’s a post-meal recommendation that can work for everyone.
Why you should go on walks after dinner.
Think about the energy spike and subsequent crash that can happen after a large intake of sugar. Luckily, D’Agostino shares a basic—and quite relaxing—practice for balancing the blood sugar response after meals: going for a walk.
He explains it like so: “If you go for a walk right after your meal, it takes the cap off of that postprandial glycemic excursion.” (Aka, the change in glucose from before to after a meal.) “I can knock it down by more than 50%, just with a casual walk with my dogs after breakfast or after dinner,” he says.
And to be clear, the walk need not be strenuous. In fact, a leisurely stroll is ideal: “Simply incorporating even a 10 minute walk after you eat, especially a big meal at nighttime, is going to be really beneficial,” says D’Agostino. “Nothing strenuous, of course, because you don’t want to do a super intense exercise after a big meal, but a casual walk will pay big dividends in the long-run.”
The research backs it up: In one study, 78 adults were randomly assigned to either become active or remain sedentary five minutes or 35 minutes after eating. The conclusions were fascinating: “Activity, even for 10 min. at very low intensity, may assist in the management of postprandial blood glucose if undertaken when blood glucose is high.” Translation? Acute, casual exercise not before but after eating (like, say, a post-dinner stroll) can help steady the blood sugar response.
It turns out, walking after meals is helpful for more than supporting digestion; it also can help support healthy blood sugar balance. “You don’t have to run a marathon,” says D’Agostino. “We just walk around our property.”