Doing this for a few minutes after dinner will definitely help anyone lose weight. It’s called the passeggiata, meaning a short walk taken purely for pleasure, and it’s more effective after meals. You won’t find anyone wearing a pedometer or spandex during these strolls, though. Instead, you’ll see them enjoying the sunlight, catching up with neighbours, or reconnecting as a family after a long day.

And when it comes to weight loss, it’s genius.

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According to Prevention’s new book, getting into the habit of a passeggiata sets the stage for weight loss. These several short walks were at least as effective as one long 45-minute walk taken during the day. The habit of taking multiple walks also gets you up and away from your desk or couch and may lower stress levels.

If you take your passeggiata after dinner, you can reap even more benefits: The gentle physical activity and the fading light before nightfall can recalibrate your body clock, helping you sleep better. It’s a simple way to aid digestion, dampen the postmeal surge in insulin, and stimulate metabolism—without it ever feeling like “exercise.”

How to get started: Instead of turning on the television right after dinner, go for a 15-minute walk. After a few weeks, add another walk in the morning, after lunch, or sometime in the afternoon. If you already work out, fantastic! Use your outdoor passeggiata as a supplement to your normal routine. Even if you’re already fit, the passeggiata can reintroduce you to movement as an easy, stress-relieving activity, not a chore to be sweated out and endured.

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