Walking-the Miracle Drug
“Walk it off”- the wisest words ever prescribed. What ails you? Is it physical pain? Walk it off. Emotional suffering? Walk it off. Need exercise? Walk in nature. Coworkers driving you crazy? Walk away. If that doesn’t work, walk some more. If you think walking isn’t intense enough to contribute to your overall fitness level, think again. Our ancestors didn’t spend their days running for miles on the treadmill to stay in shape. This would’ve left them exhausted and injury-prone with the possibility of being unable to perform when it comes time to hunt or evade predators. Their days were filled with low-level aerobic activity with occasional all out sprints. We can all agree that walking is great for our overall health and easy to perform. I walk to clear my monkey mind, to aid in digestion post meal, and to manage stress, etc. If you struggle to find time to add more walking into your daily routine and are able-bodied and upright, I have some tips and tricks for you.
“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” - Henry David Thoreau
Let’s get moving:
Morning walks- A morning stroll works wonders for the body and aligns your circadian rhythm by exposing you to sunlight. Bring the dog and come up with 3 things you are grateful for each morning as you walk. I’ll touch on the importance of developing a gratitude practice in a future article.
A 15-minute walk post meal- You should eat until satisfied, not stuffed, then take a walk to help your body digest the food and improve blood glucose control. This is the simplest, most effective strategy to implement into your daily routine.
Station Strolls- If you are a first responder, grab a radio and walk around your firehouse or workplace. Use this time to experience the world and take a digital detox from your phone throughout the day. This is how I keep my sanity working 24-hour shifts with so much indoor time.
Walking meetings- Who says you can’t walk and talk? Avoid death by Powerpoint and take your meetings outside to get some exercise while multitasking. Our brains work better when we’re moving, therefore we retain information better.
Deadmill walks- Leave the treadmill off and walk on the belt. The added resistance is a killer and lower-impact than jogging.
Park as far away as possible- You don’t need to find the closest parking spot at Walmart or Starbucks. Leave those close proximity spaces for those who really need them and walk a little.
“Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.”- Thomas Jefferson
Keep it moving. Avoid stagnation to avoid obesity. Stop sitting around and standing in place. Start today by walking barefoot and feeling the ground beneath your feet. You’ll be okay. Walk uphill in the snow to work like your superiors did when they weren't riding their high horse. If you can walk there, do so. Your health, your hands. Go now..