Ever go for a walk right after lunch? You felt better the rest of the day, right?
Walking at any time gets your mental and physical juices flowing, but it especially pays off after lunch. It rejuvenates you for the afternoon and evening ahead. Even if you can only spare 15 minutes, it makes a difference in your energy level, mental focus and physical well-being.
“It makes you happier and you just feel better,” said Elizabeth Polk, M.D., with Carilion Clinic Family Medicine - Daleville. “When you get outside, it elevates your mood and makes the afternoon more productive and enjoyable.”
Dr. Polk ought to know. She walks daily after lunch for 15 to 30 minutes with a group of nurses and others near her practice. She said walking after lunch (or dinner) also helps you:
- Lower your blood sugar by preventing the blood sugar spike you can get after a meal
- Control your blood pressure
- Digest your meal and prevent problems like heartburn or indigestion
- Sleep better
- Increase bone density
- Lose or maintain weight
Deanna Begley, L.P.N., one of the nurses in the walking group, has lost over 30 pounds in 10 months and attributes it to their walks.
“I walk just about every day, from two to three miles,” she said. “I love the fresh air, and it helps open my mind up.”
Naturally, Dr. Polk also recommends walking to her patients.
“You don’t need special equipment, and you can walk just about anywhere," she said. "Even if you can’t get outside, set an alarm once an hour and get up and walk around your office. We all sit way too much.”