When most of us think about our daily walk, we imagine ourselves on a brisk morning stroll through the neighborhood. Indeed, most runners seem to prefer the morning because that is the time when people tend to feel the most energetic. However, there are some very good reasons to take a walk in the evening as well.
Why You Should not go to Sleep Immediately after Dinner?
When you fall asleep, your body goes into an energy-conserving mode. If you have eaten a meal just before falling asleep, your body is much more likely to store that food as fat. The result of this is weight gain and/or problems with losing weight.
Just remember that whenever you eat, you are taking in energy that must be burned so that it doesn’t turn to fat. Since you obviously cannot exercise in your sleep, your body just doesn’t have any immediate use for that extra energy. Some of the energy from your post-bedtime meal will be used to continue your normal bodily functions like breathing, blood flow, etc. This is why you will sometimes burn a small amount of weight in your sleep. However, that little advantage goes out the window if you eat before bedtime. Your body will have to deal with the excess energy before it can touch your existing fat reserves.
Eating before bedtime can also lead to heartburn. Heartburn occurs when acid from the stomach makes its way up the esophagus (your throat) and causes pain and discomfort. Several studies, such as this one, have found that eating a meal shortly before bed will significantly increase your chance of heartburn (also called acid reflux).
What are the Benefits of Walking after Dinner?
There are several benefits that can be obtained from an after-dinner walk. These benefits include:
- Faster digestion
- Speeds your metabolism, thereby aiding weight loss
- Prevents the body from storing the evening meal as fat
- Helps you to sleep better due to the exertion
- Helps to strengthen the immune system
How Digestion gets better after a Post-Dinner Midnight Walk
The first benefit to consider is faster digestion. It has long been believed that walking can aid digestion, and research seems to have proven this to be true. here is an interesting study that explored the link between walking and digestion speed.
In the study mentioned above, researchers found that walking right after a meal would speed the digestion process. Test subjects who walked after a meal were able to empty their stomachs more quickly than the control group. This is just one of many studies that have proven that walking speeds the digestion process.
Walk after Dinner Offers the Benefits of Improved Metabolism
Researchers in Japan found that an after-dinner walk produced significant results in terms of weight loss. This difference in fat-burning was attributed to an increase in metabolism, as this is the only real possibility.
In many ways, this benefit is tied to the increase in digestion speed that was mentioned earlier. All of these factors come together to produce weight loss with very little exercise. A light walk is all that is required to obtain the benefits of this practice, though it is recommended to walk for about 30 minutes to obtain full results.
Walking after Dinner Helps Burn Fat Faster
As we already mentioned, light exercise after a meal will increase your metabolism and cause your body to burn its fat more quickly. Because you are doing this right after a meal, your body does not have time to turn that food into fat. This is probably the main reason that after-dinner walkers have reported good results in terms of weight loss.
This study found that obese patients were able to increase their metabolism significantly through nothing more than a vigorous walking program. Curiously, this running program also seems to have reduced their overall food consumption. This means that exercise may act as an appetite suppressant.
Walking at Night Post Dinner Helps You Sleep Better
It seems like common sense to say that a person will sleep better after a little bit of physical exertion. After a hard days’ work, it is common to say “I bet I’ll sleep good tonight!” or something like that. Of course, we want to see the hard evidence before we believe in this idea.
A few studies have been done on the subject, and it seems that the body will produce a lot more growth hormone during sleep if they exercised before going to bed. Because growth hormone is used for building and repair, it is logical to assume that the body is recovering from the workout and building new tissue.
Doctors will often recommend exercise before bedtime for patients that are suffering from insomnia. It is not clear exactly why this method works, but it does seem to be effective. One of the most plausible theories is that exercise produces an increase in body temperature as calories are burned. After exercise, there is a corresponding drop in the body temperature, and this may trigger a “sleepy” effect.
Walking Strengthens Your Immune System
As if all the above were not enough, regular exercise (even mild exercise like walking) is helpful to the immune system. Research has repeatedly shown that those who engage in regular exercise have healthier immune systems than those who do not.
In this study, cancer patients were studied to see if an exercise program would help their immune systems. The results were very encouraging, as immune system improvements were consistently recorded for nearly all the test subjects.
For an example of how much difference regular walking can make, let’s look at a Japanese martial arts master named Masaaki Hatsumi. Although he is well into his nineties, he is still teaching and training martial arts and training people from all over the world.
In one of his books, Dr. Hatsumi encourages his students to walk every day and to always go for a walk after eating or drinking. Hatsumi says that he learned this habit from his master Takamatsu, who in turn learned it from his master. This is another example of ancient wisdom that has been confirmed by modern science. For more awesome posts like this, follow us on Facebook!