The importance of walking 100 steps after eating

Your stomach, blood sugar levels, and heart will thank you for talking a short walk after eating. Plus, there are bonus fat-burning benefits.

The Importance of Taking 100 Steps After Eating

The Ayurvedic practice of taking a walk after each meal is called shatapavali. Shata means “100” and pavali means “steps.” Literally, the practice suggests taking at least 100 steps after each meal.

In fact, studies have found that walking after a meal can deliver a host of health benefits to your belly, brain, and more.

Perhaps the very worst thing we can do to sabotage the benefits of a meal is to stay seated for hours after eating.

 After you eat, your cardiovascular system is challenged to deliver a shipment of nutrients to each and every cell. Eating a large meal, then sitting causes the food and nutrients to back up, causing significant arterial and capillary stress. What’s worse is all that nutrient rich blood has to be delivered to congested small channels in the capillaries.

Just as challenging to your digestion is returning to the mental activity of work or screen time which sends the blood away from the digestive system and weakens its ability to distribute nutrients.  ( for the same reason exercising within 60-90mins of meals should be avoided) In fact, one study reported that a large heavy meal can increase the risk of heart attack four-fold in the two hours after a meal.

A post-meal walk will deliver sugar into the skeletal muscles without needing insulin, therefore reducing after-meal, cardiovascular stress. The activation of GLUT-4 receptors on the muscles bypasses the need for insulin and directly uptakes glucose to energise the muscles. This happens to everyone who walks after a meal, even those who are out of shape or have blood sugar issues.  And walking after meals will significantly lower post-meal blood sugar to lower than walking 30 minutes a day away from meal times. The greatest effect is gained by walking after evening meals, or when the most carbohydrates are consumed.

One of the most common causes of indigestion is a condition that Ayurveda calls udvarta, which means upward-moving digestion (gastro paresis) It occurs when food and acids linger in the stomach too long before emptying. The delay causes upward pressure within the stomach that pushes on the diaphragm and is one of the major causes of gastritis, or reflux. In my practice, this is one of the most common Ayurvedic digestive imbalances I see. Walking for100 paces to 5 mins at a medium to normal pace will encourage faster stomach emptying  by “drawing the food down” and avoid reflux, especially in the evenings.

Directly after a meal it’s good to sit and relax, or even lie down on your left side for 3-10mins Then, 15 to 30 minutes after eating, go for a walk. 10 minutes walking is enough to provide significant cardiovascular protection. But 100 paces around the house on a rainy cold day is enough to provide significant benefits-a lovely sunset walk after dinner is one of our favourite moments of the day-enjoy!

ayurvedic tips