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Resting after a big meal

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 04, 2012 at 6:59 PM

Today me and some colleagues were discussing whether resting after a meal is beneficial to the digestion of the food we ate. I believe that being active (walking, swimming or other activities of this nature) after a meal impedes on the stomachs ability to digest properly because the blood flow is being directed towards the extremities (arms, legs) and away from the digestive organs. My colleagues believe this is a myth and that walking actually helps or at least doesn't affect the digestive process. Is there truth to any of this?

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on May 04, 2012
at 11:12 PM

I like taking a very slow walk with my family after dinner, but speaking as a former swimmer/distance runner I agree that eating right before a heavy workout is asking for trouble. (I know not everyone has that problem, but I'd get cramps and feel nauseated.)

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5 Answers

2
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on May 04, 2012
at 08:02 PM

A leisurely walk, or driving a vehicle, might not be a problem but you're asking for muscle cramps if you swim/run/bike. That's where the old "wait an hour after eating to go in the water" came from and yes, kids and adults did indeed drown occasionally when they ignored that precaution.

I think it's an excess of caution after a snack but common sense after a full meal. Even if you don't get cramps, you're stressing your heart and may slow your digestion.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on May 04, 2012
at 11:12 PM

I like taking a very slow walk with my family after dinner, but speaking as a former swimmer/distance runner I agree that eating right before a heavy workout is asking for trouble. (I know not everyone has that problem, but I'd get cramps and feel nauseated.)

2
C4ed6ba382aed2eefc18e7877999a5de

(1579)

on May 04, 2012
at 07:05 PM

I find after a big meal that I often want to take a leisurely walk (not very fast at all, just to get moving a little) and then relax for a while. So I guess a bit of both. There are times when I don't want to move at all. Just listen to your body; it will tell you what to do!

1
9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on May 04, 2012
at 10:04 PM

Most (all?) predatory mammals nap after a big meal. So do I.

0
3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on May 05, 2012
at 09:26 PM

Eating too much protein at once makes me tired and fall asleep very easily for a few hours.

Eating too many carbs knocks me out like an opiate.

Eating too much fat (is there such a thing?) makes me feel the same, maybe even more energetic in the case of CO/MCTO.

Take that to mean what you will, but I do believe that humans (and most animals) are meant to rest and digest, not run around after a meal hoping to "kick start" digestion or anything like that.

0
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 05, 2012
at 06:04 AM

If you look at it from anthropological point of view... From what I know, all those hunter-gatherers have a very small breakfast, not sure about lunch and a big dinner. Since their dinner was at night - all they did after dinner was put away the leftovers. Then there was some housekeeping and they went to sleep.

However, after breakfast they could not sit around for a long time - they had to go hunting and gathering. But just think - breakfast would probably take them no longer than 20 minutes and then they would have to gather their stuff, get into groups, plan a little - they probably had some busy time before they got physically active.

As for lunch, all I know is that around 3:00PM it is our natural nap time. I bet they might nap a bit in hot climates after lunch, even though it was not a big meal. Not sure, would love to hear a second opinion.

For those who insist that Paleo is not a "reenactment" - don't think "reenactment", think "logic".

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