Is it really the holidays if we don’t load up our plates with extra helpings of festive food? Sure, we might end up feeling more stuffed than the turkey on the table, but the tasty treats are totally worth it. Plus, there’s an easy way to deflate after eating too much.
Although it might be tempting to simply pop the top button of your pants and snooze on the couch, taking a leisurely walk around the block will do you a lot more good. Known as “postprandial walking” in fancy science terms, it’s been shown that as little as 10 minutes of strolling around after eating can help with digestion and keep our tummies from feeling uncomfortable.
Your family might already do this as an after-dinner holiday tradition without realizing how beneficial it is. Other folks might swear by an after dinner coffee or splash of liquor to get things moving along, but one study found that walking was far more effective than either of those options. In fact, the drinks actually had the potential to make things worse.
That said, there is also a chance that moving around soon after eating could cause stomachs to feel upset, too. But waiting about 10 to 15 minutes before going on your jaunt should be plenty of time to let things settle a bit and enjoy the trek in peace. And if you’re up for more than 10 minutes of walking, that’s great, too! But you don’t have to push yourself.
Post-dinner walks can also help us feel better if we haven’t eaten too much. Several studies have found that the light exercise can benefit balancing blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, and weight loss — so you might want to keep it up even after the holidays.
And hey, we won’t judge if you decide to grab another slice of pie after a quick stroll soothes your overstuffed stomach.