I am a big fan of simple, inexpensive strategies to support our health. One strategy that I would enthusiastically endorse is walking – simply walking outside in the fresh air. Walk outside for thirty minutes, every day, and see your stress levels tank in no time. While I fully acknowledge that it is admirable when chronic illness patients can do more challenging activities, such as running a marathon or participating in a contact sport, simply walking for a short period of time each day can reap significant benefits of its own. Despite the limitations one might have with their illness, almost anyone can do this, even when in a state of chronic illness. In fact, walking is much less stress on our knees and bodies than running long distances. It is definitely one of my go-to activities that I personally enjoy doing, often with my family.
Some of the potential benefits of walking include, but are not limited to:
- Weight loss,
- Improved cardiovascular and pulmonary health,
- Reduced muscular pain, improved blood pressure, and improved cholesterol levels,
- Improved immune system,
- Reduced risk of other diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes,
- Improved moods,
- Increased longevity.
...AND ALSO AVOID A SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE
Additionally, too many of us lead sedentary lifestyles, which involve long periods of inactivity and often prolonged sitting. It is suggested that the average adult spends 50% to 70% of their day sitting, which is likely exacerbated by the fact many have desk jobs in an office environment at work, and engage in leisurely activities that involve excessive sitting. Unfortunately, prolonged sitting is associated with an increased risk of numerous health problems including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity, to name a few. In fact, Dr. James Levine wrote a book on this very topic entitled, Get up! Why your chair is killing you and what you can do about it, in which he claimed that excessive sitting is more dangerous to our health than smoking! You can view this book on Amazon at .
The good news is this problem is easy to fix – and it doesn’t cost a penny at that! Some strategies include:
- Standing up for short periods of time to break up the prolonged sitting, such as two minutes for every half hour, for example, or standing up once every 15 minutes;
- Doing simple desk exercises;
- Fidgeting as a means of doing intermittent movement;
- Doing the nitric oxide dump, as mentioned in the July 2017 ENSIA newsletter;
- Using a standing desk.