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We owe walking more credit than we give it when it comes to weight loss. Although it’s not the next secret to burning off a ton of fat in one go, it is a simple addition to your routine which can help you achieve your weight loss goals. It would require at most 20 minutes, and no equipment is required.
Certain studies conducted on the effects of exercise on postprandial lipemia – the effects of exercise following a meal, and the levels of lipids (fats) in the blood – have shown that the easy habit of walking after meals promotes weight loss.
One study measured the effects of sitting, standing and walking after a meal on lipemia (the levels of fat in the blood) among 15 healthy Japanese men in their late twenties. The standing subjects stood for 45 minutes six times per day, while the walking subjects engaged in 30-minute walks at around 60% of their maximum heart rate. The study concluded that standing had no effect on lipemia – the post-meal levels of fat in their blood, however the group involved in low-volume walking after their meal had significantly reduced levels of fat in their blood.
Another study confirmed these findings when measuring postprandial lipemia with low and moderate intensity. Participants included nine middle-aged healthy individuals who lived physically active lives but were not endurance trained. The study measured the difference between one group that did not walk, another walked at a low intensity for 3 hours, while the third group walked at a moderate intensity for 1.5 hours. The next morning, they ate a meal high in fat. The results showed that postprandial lipemia was lower among the participants who had walked (both low and moderate intensity) than the group who did not exercise. Notably, the intensity and duration of the walks did not result in a difference in levels of fat in the blood after the meals. The study concluded that irrespective of walking pace, walking after the meal increased fat oxidation in the fasting and postprandial states.
Evidently, a walk at an easy pace post breakfast, lunch, or dinner can do some good for both the soul and the figure. Based on the findings of another study, it is best to walk immediately after and ideally within 30 minutes post-meal in order to suppress a glucose spike. Within 30-60 minutes after a meal glucose increases to its maximum, so in order to reduce insulin secretion (which will play a role as an obesity hormone), walking after a meal is ideal before this glucose reaches the maximum. The author of this particularly study walked at a brisk pace immediately after lunch and dinner and lost about 3 kg, while a participant walked at a stroll and lost about 1.5 kg.
It is common for people to not consider walking as an effective strategy for weight loss, however multiple studies have shown just how effective a simple walk immediately after a meal can be. Now you have a great excuse to volunteer walking your dog after your meals.