Your secret wellness weapon is...
WALKING! According to Steven Blair, one of the world's leading experts on how everyday movement has disappeared from the world, our march toward inactivity began in the18th century when James Watt invented the steam engine. Today, many of us have work, entertainment and bountiful food at our fingertips. But such convenience comes at a heavy cost. Inactivity has become the 4th leading cause of death globally, each year killing the equivalent of the population of Norway (over 5 million people). If current trends continue, scientists predict that by 2030 the average American will expend only 15 percent more energy during a given week than someone who spent that entire time in bed! It's not too late to reverse this pandemic of inactivity.This week’s 5-Minute Recharge is devoted to strategies that will help you embed more walking into your everyday life. No willpower necessary. 1. The secret to making walking feel effortless. This newsletter (and every 5-Minute Recharge) was researched and written while walking around my kitchen.Think about activities that you currently do while seated that you can do just as well (or better) while walking. I find that I’m more engaged with what I’m reading or writing when I’m walking rather than sitting, and because I’m so immersed, walking becomes a rhythmic background activity that doesn’t feel like exercise. Try walking while you talk on the phone, read or write emails, or even watch television. I have a number of entertainment apps including Netflix on my phone along with dozens of books that add thousands of steps to activities that would otherwise be sedentary. Having something enjoyable to combine with walking will entice you to take the most important steps of your day on... 2. ...your postprandial walk. After the biggest meal of the day what do most people do? Sit motionless for hours and watch television. Being sedentary during the postprandial (after eating) period gives fat and sugar license to cruise through your body like delinquent teenagers, making pre-diabetic, inflammatory, and cardiovascular mischief. When you walk after a meal, you send a biological signal to your body to fire up your internal fat and sugar processing functions, giving those delinquent teens healthy pastimes. Try to walk after every meal (I aim for 1,000 steps) and your body will immediately respond to movement in a beneficial way. 3. Make walking into a game. A great idea to boost your step count is to gamify walking by imagining your steps taking you to a cross-country (or cross-continental) destination...
4. Take your brain for a walk. A new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that brisk walkers (subjects were given the option of swimming, biking or ballroom dancing, but most chose to walk) improved their cognitive fitness. The subjects of the study had some mild cognitive impairment—a too common precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. Walking improved blood flow to and through the walkers’ brains, making it easier for them to remember and think.
To make your walk even more valuable to mind and body, try an awe walk in which you take in the majesty of nature and make your worries feel smaller. 5. This book is made for walking. Miracle Pill, by the appropriately named Peter Walker, is a book that should not be read sitting down. Walker explains how inactivity affects the body, the countless diseases that have been linked to sedentary living, and how to bring more movement into your world. Links to enjoy while walking:
The Hidden Toll of Remote Work The Atlantic
This Is How To Make Emotionally Intelligent Friendships: 6 Secrets Eric Barker
The surprising habit that can reverse aging — and other science-backed strategies CNBC (you can also floss and walk!)
The 7 types of rest that every person needs TED
Happy stepping! Lynne