- Dr. Lesa Lawson
Want to Aid Digestion? Take a Step
Well, several steps, actually. Walking is a great digestion aid and it helps the body in other ways, as well. It doesn't jar the joints, as do some other forms of exercise and can be adopted by almost anyone. It can be done at one's own pace, with a goal to increase the pace and/or the distance over time.
Walking after a meal aids the digestive process, burns calories and fat, too. Here are some other benefits:
lowers blood pressure
reduces the appetite
lowers the risk of heart attack
reduces back pain
If you walk on a flat surface, like a track or road, and you walk for 30 minutes at four miles per hour, you would burn about 164 calories. Obviously, you would burn more if you walk uphill or a less than level surface.
Find a good pair of walking shoes. They do not have to be expensive but they must have good support. If need be, buy heel cups for your shoes.
Do stretch before and after walking. Stretch arms towards the sky. Bend slowly and gently from the waist with knees slightly bent. Stretch calf muscles by resting on your heel and arching your toes. Switch to other leg.
When walking, don't stomp as this will jar your joints. Pay attention to your gait until you are walking comfortably. Note how you feel afterwards and this will help you to know if you are walking properly.
Walk for about 10-15 minutes, three times, daily or, if you can't manage to do that, then take a long walk after dinner, early in the morning or whenever you have time during the day. Try to walk at least three times per week. Truthfully, there is no hard and fast methods; it is better to do it than not at all.
Walk your dog or offer to walk your neighbor's dog.
If you're walking at night, wear clothing that reflects light. Do not wear black, dark blue or brown at night, as these cannot be seen by motorists. A police officer spoke to me about this one night, as he could not see me crossing the street until he was almost upon me. Walk in well-lit areas at night, even if you are walking with someone. We are trying to be fit and health, not superheroes.
However, whenever, wherever you choose to do it, just walk. I'm getting back into the habit after the winter and also after the trauma of the car accident. Will you join me? Our bodies and yes, our digestive systems will love us for it.