Over the last several posts, we’ve talked about nutrition, supplements, and meditation, but we haven’t discussed exercise. The benefits of regular exercise are far too numerous to cover in one blog post, and the truth is that most of us have heard it all before. But if we know that exercise is good for us, why do so many of us struggle with the problems that go along with a lack of movement? In my opinion, it’s because we’ve been made to believe that exercise should be hard. We’ve been told that we need this equipment or that membership. That we need to go somewhere and dedicate time to techniques that require professional supervision. That we have to wear certain clothes because if we don’t break a sweat then the exercise was useless. What’s often overlooked is the importance of just moving.
Recent research has suggested that more frequent, less intense, exercise may be more beneficial than longer workouts. In one study, diabetic adults were instructed to walk for 30 minutes once daily or for 10 minutes after each main meal to determine which method most affected blood sugar more (please read our post about blood sugar here to understand why this matters). The results of the study were that frequent shorter walks were better (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00125-016-4085-2).
Another study suggests that walking may be more beneficial for health than running (http://www.fitnessandpower.com/fitness-and-health/walking-vs-running). It’s estimated that a 125 lb person burns 45 calories walking for 10 minutes, and that number increases for heavier people. So walking for just 10 minutes after each of the three main meals may:
Improve brain function
The list goes on and on
The message that I want to get across is that exercise doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming to be extremely beneficial. These 10-minutes walks don’t require any special equipment or gym memberships and can be done anywhere and in any weather. One Alabama physician encourages his patients to watch an hour of television, stand up during commercial breaks, and march in place. Over one hour of programming, that could add up to 18 minutes of exercise!
[Note from Dr. Cianfrini: I use the free YouTube videos and the DVDs from the "master" of walking at home, Leslie Sansone. Here is a link to her "One Mile Happy Walk" that takes about 14 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njeZ29umqVE . Now back to Nick!]. It’s a simple practice that may have profound impacts on overall health and pain management. I encourage all of you to read this article (click here) about the difference just standing more can make.
Whether you’re worried about surviving the holidays or gearing up for a New Year’s Resolution, I can’t think of a more practical and beneficial habit to develop than taking 10 minutes walks two to three times each day.
Yours in Good Health,