Taking as little as a 15-minute walk after each meal can help you lose weight, lower blood sugar, improve circulation and aid in digestion among other things, according to Mon Health family medicine doctor Gabrielle Sakellarides.
A large body of research from around the world supports her assertion. A 2013 study from George Washington University found that a 15-minute walk after each meal appears to help older people regulate blood sugar levels and could reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Similar results were also found in a 2016 study from the University of Otago in New Zealand.
West Virginia has the highest rate of diabetes in the nation, so these types of activities could be particularly helpful for prevention.
Adding daily walks can also combat the risks of a sedentary lifestyle. The American Heart Association recommends aiming for 10,000 steps a day. The average American gets less than half that.
In a news release, Sakellarides cautions against strapping on the walking shoes immediately after eating. The doctor says leaving enough time for food to digest is important and suggests waiting 15 or so minutes before hitting the road.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.