Health is a priority for older adults. After one turns 50 or 60, it is normal to start experiencing issues such as indigestion, tiredness, hypertension, etc. This calls for making lifestyle changes to suit the changing requirements of the ageing body such as walking after dinner, eating simple food, and practising meditation. In this blog, we will stick to the physical activity part of healthy lifestyle changes.
When it comes to doing exercise to maintain good health, it is not possible for all seniors to do rigorous exercises as they might be experiencing joint pains, vertigo, breathing issues, or any other problem that restricts them from going too intense. A good alternative for such people is post dinner walk. Walking is the simplest physical exercise that can be done at different times during the day, as per the schedule and capacity of the concerned person. It is further forgiving in the amount of time dedicated to it every day. Senior citizens who are physically fit can up to 5 km in a day, but those who have physical ailments can stick to 1-2 km.
While walking is said to offer weight loss benefits when done empty stomach in the morning, walking at night after dinner has its own sets of benefits.
Top 7 of such benefits of walking after dinner for the body of a senior.
1. Improves Digestion
If you ask people why they walk after dinner, more than half of them will say “to digest food better’, and it is true. When you take a walk after eating, you cause your stomach and intestines to move, which in turn causes the food to move through them more rapidly.
Furthermore, walking after dinner causes the body to produce more gastric enzymes, which boost digestion. This helps in providing long-term relief from constipation, heartburn, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, and other related conditions and issues.
2. Speeds Up Metabolism
Ggood metabolism is related to a healthy body, both functionally and appearance-wise. People with fast metabolism are likely to burn calories more quickly and as a result, face a lower accumulation of fat in the body. And it is common knowledge that the fat content in the body should be low for good health.
For people who are wondering if walking after dinner is good or bad for metabolism, the answer is affirmative. Walking after their last meal speeds up metabolism and keeps the body burning calories, even while resting.
A speedier metabolism may also help in losing weight quicker, so elders who are aiming to shed some kilograms should certainly walk a mile or so after dinner, along with consumption of green tea and other metabolism-boosting foods during the day.
3. Induces Sleep
Sleeplessness is a common problem faced by older adults which, if continued for many days, can cause many other problems such as fatigue, fever, etc. What if we told you that walking after dinner can solve this problem? Yes, walking is directly related to induce and improve the quality of sleep in people.
It does so in two ways – firstly, walking clears the head and improves the mood. This allows people to enjoy a restful sleep without worrying about day to day issues of life. Secondly, walking is a physical activity that makes the body tired. Because of this tiredness, the body requires rest and recovery. After one hits the bed every night, the body automatically signals them to go to sleep and enjoy deep sleep.
4. Increases Energy
This might seem contradictory, but increased energy is one of the most enjoyable benefits of walking after dinner. If you go to the gym or do exercise every day, you would agree that walking or exercising increases the overall body energy when done regularly. This increased energy could be used to carry out any other activity such as gardening, shopping, doing household chores, reading, etc.
So, how does this happen? The answer to this is that walking, whether after dinner or early in the morning, improves the metabolism and offers many other benefits to the body, which in turn make it healthier and fitter. The feelings of lethargy vanish by themselves, and the person feels motivated to do more.
All this just because they decided to take a walk after dinner every day!
5. Regulates Blood Pressure & Blood Sugar
Ageing often comes with issues like hypertension and diabetes. However, both of these conditions can be managed by walking after dinner and making other lifestyle changes. The glucose in food peaks after 30 minutes of having food. By walking at this time, one can utilise this glucose to perform physical activity and prevent the risk of hyperglycemia.
Similarly, walking regulates the blood circulation in the body, which results in evening out the blood pressure throughout the body. Therefore, one can keep their blood pressure in check by taking a walk every day.
6. Improves Mood
If you’re ever thinking if it is good to walk after dinner, remember that walking is a mood booster. While some people enjoy walking by themselves amid nature, some people feel most comfortable walking along with other people. Whatever the preference is, walking is a definite mood changer, and not just because of the environment or the company. Walking is also known to release endorphins, which are known as happiness hormones. So, when you walk a mile after dinner, your body releases these hormones, which help beat stress and depression, and make you a happier person.
7. Builds Routine
The power of following a routine is tremendous. When you start following a schedule, the body starts responding better to everyday activities. Moreover, you become better at time management, which helps make more sense of the day, week or month. This is another benefit of walking for senior citizens.
When you walk at the same time every day, the body starts getting used to it. This also regulates the timing of other functions such as feeling sleep, waking up in the morning, bowel movements, and much more. This reduces the chances of disturbances in the everyday body functions and makes you a healthier person.
Things to Note
How many steps to take after dinner is a question asked by most people who decide to start walking post dinner, and is a very important one. It is important to understand that while morning walks could be long, post dinner walks should be limited to a few minutes only. For someone who has just started out, it is sufficient to walk for just 10 minutes, which can be increased after a few days.
When it comes to the right time for walking after dinner, immediately after the meal is a good choice for a short and brisk walk. Alternatively, you can walk after 30 minutes as well. However, remember to have a light dinner to avoid the risk of an upset stomach. Also, if you’re planning to head out of home for the post dinner walk, make sure to check that it is safe and secure to walk out at night.
Staying motivated is crucial for senior citizens who are not used to walking every day. Such people can start with a few metres per day and then move on to walking for a couple of kilometres regularly. Elders who need assistance with daily walking and other everyday tasks can benefit from home help for seniors that we facilitate at Emoha. For us, it is always #EldersFirst