Satapāvalī (शतपावली) is a Marathi term which refers to an age-long Indian custom of taking a stroll after a meal. The word is a compound from shata "hundred" and paaul "step", which literally means "walking 100 steps" after a meal. A stroll is a slow leisure walk, it shouldn't increase your heart rate, it is meant for aiding digestion and not as a form of exercise.
Photo by Alvin Mahmudov
It is a common practice these days to sit down or lie-down after a meal, which is quite detrimental to the digestion process. It gives the signal to our body, 'Ok, you've just had a great meal but you don't really require the energy at the moment' so digestion is not the body's priority.
A habit as simple as taking a slow stroll of as little as 100 steps after a meal improves overall wellbeing, which includes proper digestion, better control of blood sugar levels and triglycerides in the body. This is turn, prevents various stomach complications such as acidity or indigestion that people usually complain after having their meals.
While a Satapāvalī is a great custom to remind us of the importance of a post meal stroll, we can definitely do up to 500 steps which hardly takes less than 5 minutes. It will not only lower blood levels of fat (triglycerides and cholesterol) but also boosts metabolism by enhancing blood circulation to various parts of the body making you feel less lethargic.
So remember, digestion starts in your mouth and is enhanced with a post meal stroll. So eat your meal slowly and do not forget to take a 2-minutes stroll after your meals. These habits might seem so simple to be effective, but the secret is always in the small things. Give it a chance and feel the difference.
Is there similar saying in your culture which encourages a post meal stroll? Let us know in the comments. And if you've liked this article, also checkout our previous post on The Importance of Eating Slowly.