Not solely does walking after eating dinner improve manufacturing of the neurotransmitter serotonin (a precursor to the sleep hormone melatonin), however it will possibly additionally assist decrease ranges of the stress hormone cortisol and regulate the sympathetic nervous system, each of which might enhance your temper, based on practical drugs physician Jill Carnahan, MD. “Many individuals really feel motion is a strong technique to mobilize and reduce stress and nervousness,” she says.
To get probably the most relaxation-boosting advantages out of a pre-bedtime stroll, there are a number of finest practices Dr. Carnahan says to remember.
1. Should you’re strolling exterior, what you put on issues
“Costume acceptable for climate so there is no such thing as a extreme warmth or chilly, which can improve cortisol and counter the stress-relieving results of strolling after your night meal,” Dr. Carnahan says.
2. Wait to stroll till 20 to half-hour after you eat dinner
“[This] could enhance digestion and decrease blood sugar, two further advantages,” Dr. Carnahan says. “It’s finest to devour a average consumption of meals and keep away from alcohol or overindulgence previous to strolling.”
3. Skip the ability stroll tempo
Whereas there’s a time and place to pick up the pace while walking, earlier than going to sleep just isn’t it. Working out too intensely in the evening can elevate your physique temperature and spike cortisol, each of which is able to make it tougher to go to sleep. “Low to average depth is good to decrease stress ranges and keep away from elevating cortisol ranges earlier than mattress,” Dr. Carnahan says. With the ability to discuss comfortably when you stroll is one technique to inform that you simply’re transferring at an excellent tempo. She says to intention for 30 to 60 minutes of strolling at this depth.
4. Make it a feel-good stroll
If you wish to prime your physique much more earlier than bedtime, Dr. Carnahan says there are some things you are able to do that’ll additional increase your feel-good hormones and temper. “Including calming or constructive music to headphones can improve the expertise, or particularly utilizing binaural beats could add further profit by rising parasympathetic system and vagal tone,” she says. “These items counter the sympathetic ‘fight or flight’ system.”
And should you can convey alongside a strolling buddy (two- or four-legged is ok), even higher. “Strolling with pet, buddy, or cherished one provides further advantage of social connection, which has been proven as one of many elements to increase longevity,” Dr. Carnahan says. The extra the merrier.