It’s been well-known since ancient times that everyone needs exercise to reach their best health, but what kind of exercise is the best? Some swear by weight lifting, others enjoy cardio, and then there’s always yoga and tai chi for those seeking a gentler activity. That doesn’t even cover activities like football, soccer, karate, or swimming, which all combine cardio with muscle-focused activity, in different degrees.
Most physicians recommend two to three hours of moderate exercise, or about an hour of heavy activity, per week. If you’ve been avoiding activity because you feel you don’t have the time, or just dislike the exertion, it might be time to take your long-term health into consideration. A lack of activity can lead to weight gain, joint issues, poor digestive health, mental ‘fog,’ high cholesterol, and many other issues.
Don’t worry though, there’s an easy fix! It’s one that even the most out-of-shape person can embrace. Recent research has shown that just fifteen minutes of daily walking lowers the risk of death by more than twenty percent in those over the age of sixty. This effect is increased even more if the person was routinely active for a while before that age.
Fifteen minutes is an easy goal. It’s approximately half the length of most sitcoms, as well as half of most lunch breaks. If, instead of sitting down the whole time, you choose to spend part of your lunch break walking circles around the parking lot, you could be adding years to your lifespan. Industrious types can eat on the go, improving digestion while increasing activity time to the whole thirty minutes, significantly increasing their health benefits. As an added bonus, walking throughout that whole break, five days a week, would get you to that elusive 150 minutes that scientists are so keen on recommending.
Keep in mind, there was an even greater benefit for those who engaged in high activity levels, with routine vigorous exercise leading to a thirty-five percent reduced risk of death. There’s no need to push yourself to heavy activity if you’re not used to it. If that’s a goal you wish to meet, work up to it by starting with light activity, then gradually increasing walking time and speed. You can also incorporate other exercises to supplement your walking, like stretching, weight lifting, or a different type of cardio, like boxing or dancing.
The key here is to simply get moving. Walking has an additional benefit of stimulating creative thinking. Did you know that Steve Jobs held most of his business meetings over long walks? He knew, just like we here at Holton Chiropractic know, that the mild stimulation of a brisk walk is one of the best actions for a healthy body and mind. It reduces risk of death, prevents a number of other conditions, and can help boost self-esteem, emotional health, and mental clarity. If you start now, and combine walking with a healthy diet, you can get that elusive beach body before the next summer rolls around!
Anyone looking to start a new physical activity routine, or just to alter their old one, would do well to get a check-up. Stop by our office or call to make an appointment, and we’ll make sure you’re ready to get active with a nutritional consult, chiropractic adjustment, physical therapy, and even a full health plan created by our acclaimed, wellness-centered medical staff. Remember, just fifteen minutes a day could add years to your life, so don’t delay!