Walking can literally add years to your life, and incorporating walks after meals can improve all manner of chronic metabolic disorders.
Hardly news, the body of research on walking was augmented with another study which took place in 2003-06 but whose results were only just published recently, showing that people who took 8,000 steps per day had a 51% reduced risk of death than those who took 4,000 steps per day.
Furthermore, as uncountable scientists in the past have confirmed, the study found a cumulative, dose-dependent effect on the person, as those who walked 12,000 steps or more had a 65% reduced risk of death.
The study consisted of about 5,000 participants who wore pedometers for three years, and whose circumstances of death were monitored by the scientists.
Do the walk of life
Physical motion, not exercise in the traditional P.E. class sense, is the catalyst through which is born a strong, healthy body.
The science practically begs the reader to start moving around more, as it found the barest of minimums for participatory benefit. For example, the steps were not taken all at the same time, suggesting that on many occasion, the wearer of the pedometer was not even walking for exercise, but rather doing something like errands or chores.
Not only was there no correlation of consecutive steps and lower mortality rate, but there wasn’t even a correlation between step intensity and lower mortality rate, meaning one doesn’t even have to power-walk.
The science is quite clear: walk and live longer; exercise and live even longer.
The CDC estimates that 60%, or 165 million Americans, are living with one chronic disease, while 40% may be living with two. The cost of all this disease, according to functional medicine expert Chris Kresser, will equal national GDP by 2040.
As shown in a number of studies, many of these chronic diseases can be improved simply by walking—especially after dinner or a meal.
The European way
As iconic as the siesta is in European culture, a trip out onto the street after dinner in a country like France or Italy is principle people-watching time, as full-belied friends and couples of every description “walk it off” under the street lights.
Walking after a meal, particularly dinner, can improve all manner of markers for cardiometabolic disease.
A study of type-2 Chinese diabetics found that walking on a treadmill at 60% of max heart rate for just 20 minutes after dinner decreased the post-meal blood-glucose spike average and peak, and improved how glucose was regulated for 12 hours post meal.
Study participants with gastro-reflux disease who followed dinner with a walk rather than sitting were shown in a study from Pakistan to have a significantly lower (12%) risk of getting gastro reflux symptoms.
Another study found that in 64 patients, “the effect of after-dinner quick walking is significant in the treatment of community fatty liver [disease] and it may improve liver function.”
Smaller studies with very few participants have looked at other effects and found significance in after-dinner walking.
Even though the recommended physical activity in the U.S. is 150 minutes of moderate intensity per-week, meeting that just with daily walks can be very rewarding as well.