I’ve been pretty busy over the last month, so instead of focusing on the Spleen/Stomach channels this month I wanted to give you a blog that could have a pretty immediate impact on your health and well-being. I’ll continue with the Spleen/Stomach next month…or day. Again, playing fast and loose with the monthly blog goal. Today, I’d like to talk about walking and the goal of getting 10,000 steps in. We know being sedentary is detrimental to health. Low physical activity is correlated with cardiovascular disease, obesity, insulin resistance, and all-cause mortality.
Biologically, our bodies are made to walk and run. That’s why we sweat. We are adapted to be able to handle the stress associated with walking, running, throwing, climbing, jumping, etc. Obviously, if you have a condition preventing one or all of these activities, you should consult with your doctor before adding them to your routine. But again, walking. Walking is going to increase blood circulation, lymphatic flow, and get the muscles out of the constricted sitting positions that we’re all guilty of at some point (as I type this blog).
Most people, once they get to know me, know that I’m a pretty avid runner. What’s scary to me is that a study was actually carried out with marathon runners, and the end result of the study showed that those marathoners that trained and sat the rest of the day had just as much of a risk of developing the conditions I mentioned above. For me, personally, this perked my ears up. I thought I was getting enough exercise in the morning before patients! Due to this study and anting to remain healthy, I started walking around the office between patients. What happened? I got some soreness in my hips, glutes, and thighs! It was a good soreness, though. So, expect some soreness if you decide to engage in more physical activity/walking.
Ok, the gist. Physical activity throughout the day is good for our health, but sitting or lounging for long periods in a row is definitely not. You don’t need to get a pedometer and get exactly 10,000 steps per day, especially if you are engaging in activities that pedometers won’t necessarily count, such as swimming, yoga, and heavy weight lifting. Thirty minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is usually considered equivalent to around 3,000 steps. Below are some ways to incorporate more physical activity/walking into your day.
– Use the stairs at work instead of the elevator
– Walk to ask a co-worker a quick question instead of sending an email
– See if your company would accommodate standing desks as part of a health-promoting program
– If standing desks are out of the question, use a yoga ball instead of a chair to engage more trunk muscles
– Walk to a different floor than yours to use the bathroom
– Start a walking group for before or after lunch instead of spending more time sitting around
– Set up computer prompts or alarms to remind you to get up and move around every hour
– Initiate a fitness challenge at the workplace
– Walk after dinner instead of plopping on the couch for another hour of TV
– Go on a family hike or walk instead of watching a family movie
Again, consult your doctor before engaging in any kind of, or more, physical activity, especially if you have pre-existing conditions.
Adam Gloyeske, L.Ac.