Modern people live in a world that is often spent in front of the T.V, sitting on the computer, driving etc. We are simply not moving enough. Even walking 40 minutes a day is much healthier than not doing any activity at all.
But honestly, the whole walk 20-40 minutes a day is a bit of a cop-out in my opinion. It’s something that doctors and other people in the health industry say to people who do not exercise at all. Yes, walking is a great way to get the body moving, improve circulation of the blood and lymphatic system, lowers LDL’s and raises HDL’s, gives the muscles tone, increases endorphins and increase much needed fresh oxygen to your cells. But it is the least you should be doing.
There are 4 important components that should be practiced daily to maintain a healthy body:
eating right, exercise, sleep, and the most important, but most neglected, is some sort of body work, i.e.: Acupuncture, massage, or chiropractic adjustments.
Most of my clientele see me because of back problems, usually from lack of movement-- sitting 8 hours a day on the computer, or other forms of inactivity.
Lack of exercise does not only lead to obesity and back pain, it also causes fatigue, inflammation, depression, moodiness, and slows the metabolic system.
This is my own personal story. I went to my doctor 4 months ago and found out that I have diabetes II, my A1C level was at 11, it should be at 5, my triglyceride levels were at 1308, the norm should be below 150. I was a heart attack or stroke waiting to happen. I was completely upset about letting myself get to this state; I’m a health professional, after all. My GP wanted to me to take the medications metformin and fibrates to lower my blood sugar levels and triglycerides.
I did my research and read up on how metformin worked. Basically stated it stops the liver from producing glucose while you slept and reduces how much glucose your body absorbs. To me that sounded scary, since the liver has over 500 functions, I wasn’t sure what else it could be doing. Plus I read that even on this drug it would only decrease my sugar levels by 20 points.
What I did do instead was started eating right and exercising more. I checked my blood sugar level daily, sometimes 3 times a day. Within 2 weeks I noticed a considerable drop in my normal blood sugar levels. I also noticed after a nice 5 mile jog, my sugar levels would drop as much as 40 points. I’m sure that is not normal for most people. But for me it was much welcomed.
Now, with exercise and proper diet, I have my diabetes under control. I lost 20 pounds of fat; gained more energy, no longer feel sluggish. My last lipid panel test impressed my doctors. They told me they were amazed my blood sugar levels are under control to a normal level as well as dropping my triglycerides levels from 1308 to 250. I still have over 100 points to before my triglycerides would be considered in the normal range, but the fact I dropped it so far with just diet and exercise really impressed my doctors. When I do eat something I shouldn’t, I go for a light jog at Mission Bay, or a long walk up and down these great hills we have throughout the Clairemont area to burn off the sugars that I just consumed.
I am not advocating people to get off their medication. I chose this route rather than to be on medication because the side effects of exercising were much more desirable to me than taking the medication.
Exercise should be a little bit of a challenge, but not so strenuous that you are not motivated to continue the activity. Everyone has his or her own ideas about what exercise is, from Tai chi to cross fit, they are all good for you and gets you moving. You have to find what it good for you and something you will and can make part of your lifestyle.
For myself I do a very light, I mean LIGHT jog 5 miles a day, I pace myself so I can do a long run and burn off the sugars. I also take as many walks as I can, instead of driving to the store I walk to the store. I have a mini trampoline in my living room that I jump instead of sitting when watching television. I exercise in small increments throughout the day. This is why I say 20-40 min walks everyday should just be the least you should be doing.
Some suggestions I have would be to start slowly and build up your stamina. When at work bring healthy low caloric snacks to eat all through the day, like celery, carrot stick, tuna, or Greek yogurt, anything to rev up your metabolism without turning to fat. During your break or lunch time take a walk, gradually bring up the speed of your walks, do a few push ups, stretch your body after you reached a certain distance, lets say after every other block you stretch your legs, or do a few push ups. The goal is to mix it up a bit. The body adapts very easily to what ever you are doing, so it is a good idea to change your routine, plus you would not get bored. Set some personal goals. Take a walk or a jog after dinner; do not just sit on the couch. Do some light yoga stretches or push ups and sit ups, or air squats. Keep your metabolism up and make your body use those sugars and fats as fuel.
I like to download workout applications on my phone. I have the 7-minute work out. I like it because it gives me a great all over body work out in a short time when I am between clients. Other apps such Runtastic measure my jogging distance. There are many workout apps nowadays to help you reach your work out goals.
Exercise is an important part of staying healthy. It is critical that it becomes part of your daily routine. Make sure it is something you enjoy and not make it a chore.
Geno Diveley L.Ac