Not solely does strolling after consuming dinner enhance manufacturing of the neurotransmitter serotonin (a precursor to the sleep hormone melatonin), however it might additionally assist decrease ranges of the stress hormone cortisol and regulate the sympathetic nervous system, each of which might enhance your temper, in response to practical drugs physician Jill Carnahan, MD. “Many individuals really feel motion is a strong method 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 just a few finest practices Dr. Carnahan says to bear in mind.
1. When you’re strolling exterior, what you put on issues
“Gown acceptable for climate so there is no such thing as a extreme warmth or chilly, which can enhance 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] might enhance digestion and decrease blood sugar, two extra 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 choose up the tempo whereas strolling, earlier than going to sleep will not be it. Understanding too intensely within the night can elevate your physique temperature and spike cortisol, each of which can make it more durable 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 speak comfortably when you stroll is one method to inform that you just’re shifting at a great 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 enhance your feel-good hormones and temper. “Including calming or constructive music to headphones can improve the expertise, or particularly utilizing binaural beats might add extra profit by rising parasympathetic system and vagal tone,” she says. “This stuff counter the sympathetic ‘struggle or flight’ system.”
And if you happen to can carry alongside a strolling buddy (two- or four-legged is okay), even higher. “Strolling with pet, good friend, or liked one provides extra advantage of social connection, which has been proven as one of many elements to enhance longevity,” Dr. Carnahan says. The extra the merrier.