Staying put or napping after you eat is probably the worst thing you can do, according to a study by the International Journal of Obesity published earlier this year—the research linked more time sitting (and less movement) with cardiovascular disease and larger waist circumferences.
And as for that digestif? Sure, have it, but only after you've taken a walk. Walking outperforms boozy cocktails and espresso, ones that purport to stimulate the stomach, as a study published in the Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases published in 2008, when it comes to digestion efficacy. Walking helped food along through the digestive system while the beverages had no effect on digestion.
In order to get the most out of your walk, doing it directly after your meal versus even one hour later prompts more weight loss, suggesting that there's some mechanism that helps the body better digest.
It's probably because of the blood-sugar-balancing effects of walking. This study published in the American Diabetes Association's journal Diabetes Care compared blood sugar levels of people who walked 45 minutes in the morning and others who walked 15 minutes after meals and found that the latter resulted in significantly improved blood sugar levels. Another study published in 2009 in Applied Physiology, Metabolism, and Nutrition saw similar results when testing the effects of postprandial walking in middle-aged women.
Taking the research into account, you'd ideally walk for at least 30 minutes directly after the meal. The dishes can wait—make it a family affair or steal some alone time if you need it, but walking is a surefire way to feel lighter and more energized after a heavy meal.
If you're on a path to weight loss, check out this inspiring story of transformation without deprivation. Plus, if you're feeling sluggish, think of all the other benefits of walking.