Ayurveda is highly regarded as India’s oldest traditional medical practice that focuses on herbal, natural and non-invasive ways to treat the human body’s various ailments. This ancient practice recommends people make small lifestyle changes to make a big difference to their overall health. One such exercise is shatapawali, which is the key to the many health benefits of walking after dinner.
A healthy diet, moderate exercise and restful sleep are said to be essential for good health. But many of us find it hard to incorporate time for exercise in our busy lives. This is where this age-old dictum of Ayurveda can come to our aid.
However, it should be noted that any form of Ayurveda is best followed only after a personal consultation with a trained practitioner. To achieve the best benefits of walking after dinner, a thorough session with a certified expert or professional is advised.
What is shatapawali and what does Ayurveda say about it?
One can break down this Marathi word into Shat – 100 and pawali – walk. It means taking a walk for approximately 100 steps post-dinner for effective digestion and good sleep. This works out to a walk of five to 10 minutes, which should be done at a normal pace. Such an exercise is said to help in digestion, calm the mind and ensure good sleep.
Walk the talk: Various health benefits of shatapawali after dinner
Aids weight loss
Walking is said to boost the metabolism of the body and help you create a calorie deficit if you are working on hitting an optimum weight goal. For the uninitiated, a calorie deficit is when you burn more calories than your total intake. Walking helps burn calories.
Even though walking after dinner is great, it needs to be coupled with a proper diet to get the best results, as mentioned by this American Dietetic Association report published in 2009.
Ensures good digestion
Moderate to low-intensity exercise on a full stomach has been linked with treating digestion issues and smooth functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. This report published by the Southern Medical Journal highlights the benefits of physical activity such as walking after dinner on the gastrointestinal system.
Anyone facing constipation, bloating or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can surely choose this small walking exercise to get relief. This study published in 2011 by the National Library of Medicine, shines light on this.
Regulates blood sugar
The 2016 report in the Diabetologia journal specifically sheds light on shatapawali after dinner. Insulin and medication are pertinent for diabetic patients to maintain blood glucose levels, but a five to 10-minute walk can have added benefits in blood sugar management.
Keeps your energy levels high
Light walking after eating helps in the burning of nutrients into energy, which keeps one active and productive throughout the day. It also aids in a good night’s sleep and has good results for dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues. Walking releases endorphins in the brain, which ensures a good mood and general cheer.
Maintains blood pressure
Journal of Hypertension published a report in 2006 that clearly states that although a single walking session helps in lowering blood pressure, multiple such sessions for 10 minutes each throughout the day are even more beneficial.
Hypertension and diabetes have been regarded as lifestyle diseases hence there is a 2018 study published in the National Library of Medicine which is targeted at those with a sedentary life and battling systolic blood pressure. It was observed that their pressure came down by 13 per cent after six months of guided walking. This will even benefit people with diastolic blood pressure.
Potential risks of walking after dinner
It is to be noted that Ayurveda strictly states that the shatapawali should not be heavy or fast-paced as digestion is a passive process and exercise is an active process. Over-exercising after dinner is strictly prohibited as it hampers the body’s natural functioning.
It is recommended to wait for 10-15 minutes after your dinner before you start walking. If you don’t wait and walk briskly soon after you eat, there is a chance you might get an upset stomach or feel bloated or nauseous as it disturbs the process of digestion.
But overall, walking after dinner and every meal is thought to do wonders for your overall health, as suggested by Ayurveda.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– How long should we walk after dinner?
Ayurveda states that walking for 10 minutes is effective post-dinner.
– How important is walking after dinner?
Walking after dinner has many health benefits including weight loss, reducing hypertension, controlling blood sugar levels and keeping up the energy levels of the body.
– Does walking after dinner help lose weight?
Yes, weight loss has been linked with physical activity, including light walking after dinner. However, a proper and nutritious diet is also an important factor.
– Can we walk for 30 minutes after dinner?
Ayurveda recommends walking only for 10 minutes as excessive exercise can hamper digestion.
(Hero and featured image: Courtesy of Arek Adeoye/Unsplash)