Finding a moderate-intensity exercise you enjoy and building it into your daily routine can help you lose weight. Walking at a regular time, like first thing in the morning or right after dinner, can increase your chances of sticking to your exercise plan on a long-term basis. An after-dinner walk and other consistent efforts are key to successful weight loss.
Walking after dinner can help you burn calories for weight loss as you develop a regular exercise routine.
Burn Calories With Walking
To lose a pound of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories. Generally speaking, a 1-mile walk burns about 100 calories, but you can lose more by walking faster or longer. Maximize your after-dinner walk's fat-burning potential by walking at a pace of 3 to 4 mph. You will need to exercise after eating on most, if not all, days of the week to achieve weight-loss results through walking.
Exercise After Eating
A popular myth cautions against exercise after eating due to the likelihood of cramps or other digestive woes. Your digestive system normally receives about 20 to 25 percent of the blood pumped by the heart. After you eat, that number almost doubles, which can cause competition with your muscles if you engage in high-intensity exercise after eating, like jogging. However, taking a moderate 15- or 20-minute after-dinner walk may actually aid in digestion.
Start Small and Build Up
Walking for weight loss starts with making a commitment to regular physical activity. Start by walking just 10 minutes after dinner, and work your way up to at least 30 minutes a day. The benefits you will experience depend on the intensity, frequency and duration of exercise. In addition to walking after dinner, you can make walking a part of your daily life. Park farther away, walk to destinations instead of driving, and add in stairs whenever possible. The more active you are throughout the day, the greater your chances for sustainable weight loss.
If you're hesitant to make time for exercise, try the following tips to get started with walking for weight loss:
- Exercise with a friend. You are more likely to stick to an after-dinner walk if you have a friend holding you accountable to get the walk done.
- Set goals. Whether your goal is weight loss, stress relief or an improvement in overall health, it can be helpful to identify goals and measure progress. Write down your goals and review them frequently to check progress.
- Stick to your schedule. If you plan to walk for 30 minutes a day after dinner, add the time to your calendar and don't waiver from the schedule.
Read more: What to Eat to Feel Better — Inside and Out
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Combining exercise with dietary changes will yield quicker, more effective weight loss than walking alone. Boost your consumption of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and cut out refined sugars and fats. Giving up just one treat a day, like a cookie or a glass of wine, can cut 100 calories a day from your diet. Once you lose the weight, you will need to continue your after-dinner walk to keep it off.
- College of the Canyons: "Shedding Fat & Building Muscle"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Walking: Your Steps to Health"
- ChooseMyPlate: "How Many Calories Does Physical Activity Use (Burn)?"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Clogged Arteries in the Gut?"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Putting a Stop to Leaky Gut"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Get Active!"