Actually, all signs say ‘walk’. A sedentary lifestyle is a significant risk factor for many health issues, including cardiac diseases, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. With so many of us working at desk jobs and spending our free time at the computer, reading, or watching TV, it’s no wonder that some studies suggest we’re seated up to 15 hours a day. Add in seven or eight hours of sleep, and we’re only ‘active’ for an hour or two a day.
Fortunately, getting up and moving doesn’t have to be a major investment. Simply walking can add a great deal to your health. It’s easy, with a fairly low risk of injury, and cheap (no special equipment beyond a decent pair of shoes).
Here are some guidelines to help you just move:
• Do it daily. Try to get a half-hour brisk walk every day, or an hour four days a week. Or do three ten-minute walks a day (some studies indicate that this approach could be even better for long-term health).
• Watch your form. Be mindful of your posture – keep your head up and be alert to your surroundings.
• Sneak it in. Take the steps instead of the escalator. Park further away at stores and events (added bonus: it’s usually easier to get into and out of the parking lot!). To speed up, take faster steps rather than longer steps to avoid muscle strain. At work, a two-minute walk around the office can help improve mental focus and reduce upper body strain.
• Mix it up. Don’t always take the same route. Try some hills, or try walking in the grass, on gravel, or on soft sand to really up the calorie burn. Swing your arms to get your upper body involved (added bonus: help move your lymph!).
Adding just a little exercise can help prevent or manage certain health conditions, and keeps our bodies functioning at an optimal level. Start small and slowly build up to the level that’s right for you.
As always, consult your healthcare practitioner before starting this or any exercise program to address any safety or health concerns you may have.