Getting your steps every day offers many benefits, mentally and physically. While any movement throughout the day, walking or otherwise, can be beneficial for weight loss, there is research to suggest it walking after a meal can provide additional benefits. Let’s take a look at how exercise can affect weight loss, how much you need to walk each day, how to maximize the benefits of exercise, and why this is ultimately the best time to walk to lose weight. And for healthier tips, be sure to check out our list of the 21 Best Healthy Cooking Tips of All Time.
How walking can lead to weight loss
Each of us has a basic amount of calories that we burn in a day. This is often referred to as your resting metabolism, and although that number remains relatively stable, the amount of movement we do each day walking around the house, running errands, and intentional exercise can significantly increase your total calorie burn.
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Additionally, exercise can help manage blood sugar levels, another benefit that aids in weight loss. A 2016 study found that walking for 10 minutes after each meal helps lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes more than walking for 30 consecutive minutes at any other time of the day. Although this study focuses on those with diabetes, it is reasonable to expect similar results in those with prediabetes, according to this 2013 study.
Walking helps blood sugar levels.
What is the mechanism behind exercise that helps manage blood sugar levels? It’s pretty simple. As your heart rate increases during moderate-intensity exercise, your muscles begin to prefer carbohydrates, or sugar, as their primary energy source. When you eat carbohydrates during a meal, your blood sugar level naturally begins to rise and it is insulin’s job to help extract sugar from the blood and deliver it to different tissues in the body. Walking increases the amount of sugar required by the muscles and helps to use excess sugar that may be in the bloodstream after a meal.
Managing blood sugar levels is extremely important for cardiovascular health and can also facilitate weight loss. Post-meal exercise offers two main benefits for weight management: it increases your calorie consumption to encourage your body to use fat as an energy source, and it helps manage blood sugar levels which support overall health and relieves the pancreas of additional work trying to manage blood sugar with insulin.
While there are many recommendations for the amount and type of exercise to perform, the American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking, each week. Walking just 21 minutes a day at a moderate speed can reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, which is especially important for 34.5% of all U.S. adults who have prediabetes and can support better bone health and promote less weight gain.
Why you should walk after a meal.
Walking at any time of the day can be beneficial for physical and mental well-being, however, walking after meals can be particularly beneficial for those with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes as increased movement can remove some of the excess sugar in the blood and put it to work in muscle tissue. For those with no health conditions aiming to lose weight or exercise to prevent future health complications, walking can be a valuable component in their daily routine.
To get started today, here are 30 tips when walking to lose weight.