Exercise is one of the 6 essential pillars of Lifestyle Medicine for the effective prevention of health conditions. When implemented, your health is positively impacted by replacing unhealthy behaviors with positive ones, or supplementing what you might already be doing.
Walking has been known to be one of the healthiest behaviors you can incorporate into your life and now researchers have found just how impactful it can be. This breaking news comes from seven different studies examining how light physical activity, like standing or walking, affects heart health, including insulin and blood sugar levels, compared to prolonged periods of sitting.
This eye-opening news about walking and how it plays a role as an essential piece for optimal health is just one way you can positively affect your life. Applying all 6 pillars of Lifestyle Medicine together can also provide the effective prevention of health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Here’s a reminder of what they are…
- Nutrition. Food is medicine so choose a predominantly whole food, plant based diet that is rich in fiber and nutrient dense. Eat vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
- Exercise. Regular physical activity that can be maintained on a daily basis throughout life like walking, gardening, push ups and lunges is an essential piece of the optimal health equation.
- Restorative sleep. Lack of or poor quality sleep can lead to a strained immune system. Be aware of sleep environment, diet and behaviors that lead to healthy rest.
- Stress management. Since stress can lead to anxiety, depression, immune dysfunction and more, recognize and identify stressors to improve well-being.
- Avoidance of risky substances. The dangers of substance abuse has been well documented increasing the risk of many cancers and heart disease. Not smoking and limiting alcohol intake are positive behaviors that improve health.
- Positive social connections and relationships. Being connected socially is essential to emotional resiliency with studies showing isolation is associated with increased mortality. Home and environment should be considered when examining overall health and well-being.
In addition to all of the health benefits walking provides, it also helps to manage weight, boosts mood, improves sleep, wards off bloating and gas, positively affects self-image, and helps to control blood pressure. The benefits and rewards are endless.
To sum it all up, adding a short walk to your post meal schedule is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. And if you need al little motivation to get this routine going, make it fun by listening to your favorite music or podcast, take your dog along or ask a friend or family member to join you.
Be well, Coach Cristina