In the fast-paced world we live in, our health often takes a back seat to our hectic schedules. One aspect of our daily routine that is frequently debated is whether it's beneficial to walk immediately after eating, wait for some time, or avoid it altogether. While conventional wisdom may lack a unanimous verdict on postprandial wellness, Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, offers a unique perspective. According to Ayurveda, taking 100 steps post-meals, known as Shatpavali, is the ideal way to beat indigestion, improve metabolism, and relieve post-meal fatigue. In this article, we delve into what Ayurveda has to say about walking after meals and explore the numerous benefits it offers.
The Ayurvedic Perspective:
Ayurveda emphasises that walking is not just about burning calories but should be a holistic practice aimed at enhancing overall well-being. Brisk walking alone is not sufficient, as it may increase body doshas. Instead, Ayurveda recommends Shatpavali, which involves walking at least 100 steps after lunch and dinner every day.
Benefits of Walking 100 Steps After Each Meal:
1. Improved Digestion:
Ayurveda suggests that walking after eating stimulates Agni, the digestive fire. This stimulation promotes proper meal digestion and nutrient absorption. By encouraging food to move more efficiently through the digestive system, walking reduces the likelihood of indigestion, bloating, and pain.
2. Enhanced Metabolism:
Walking accelerates metabolism, facilitating effective nutrient absorption and meal digestion. This can contribute to maintaining a healthy weight and preventing sluggish digestion, aligning with Ayurvedic principles.
3. Blood Sugar Regulation:
Studies published in the International Journal of General Medicine indicate that walking after meals helps control blood sugar levels. This activity promotes glucose utilisation by muscles, reducing blood sugar spikes and enhancing insulin sensitivity. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk.
4. Weight Management:
Regular post-meal walking supports weight management by promoting calorie burning. Ayurveda places a strong emphasis on maintaining a healthy weight for overall well-being.
5. Stress Reduction:
Walking serves as a mild workout that releases endorphins, natural mood uplifters. Stress reduction is crucial for optimal nutritional absorption, as stress can negatively impact digestion. Thus, walking contributes to both physical and mental well-being.
6. Improved Sleep:
Ayurveda suggests that walking after meals can aid digestion and enhance sleep quality. Good digestion creates a relaxed state in the body, promoting restful sleep.
7. Conversion of Nutrients into Energy:
Walking after meals assists the body in converting maximum nutrients into energy. This process helps combat fatigue, ensuring that the body utilizes nutrients efficiently for sustained energy levels.
The Science Behind Post-Meal Walking:
Beyond Ayurveda, modern science supports the idea of walking after meals for optimal health. A study conducted by the University of Otago found that post-meal walking significantly lowered blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. The physical activity aids in the transportation of glucose to muscles, reducing the risk of hyperglycemia.
Additionally, post-meal walking has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, and incorporating short walks after meals can contribute to meeting this target.
Incorporating the Ayurvedic practice of walking 100 steps after each meal into your daily routine can bring about a myriad of health benefits. From improved digestion and enhanced metabolism to blood sugar regulation and stress reduction, this simple yet powerful practice aligns with the holistic principles of Ayurveda. Embracing the wisdom of Shatpavali not only aids in physical well-being but also fosters mental and emotional balance.
So, the next time you finish a meal, consider taking a short stroll – your body and mind will thank you for it.