Weekly musings, 3/12/17: walking and simplicity
I was chatting with a client earlier this week. He off-handedly mentioned he has been walking 20-45 minutes most days of the week. “That’s great!” I said, visibly surprised.
“You told me last year when I was struggling with my back that walking 20 minutes a day was really good for me. I found that I enjoy it, the dog enjoys it, and because you said it didn’t matter how fast I go, I discovered I feel less like it’s work, and more like it’s a relaxing way to spend time in the afternoon.” (This client is 80).
Walking outside is good for the heart. 20-40 minutes of daily walking meets the minimum requirements suggested by the CDC for health, regulating blood pressure and glucose levels.
Walking outside is also good for the brain. Nature causes hormones to be released that increase our sense of well-being. In addition, walking outside gives us time to think. “Thinking is generally thought of as doing nothing in a production-oriented culture, and doing nothing is hard to do. It’s best done by disguising it as doing something, and the something closest to doing nothing is walking,” writes Rebecca Solnit.*
Back pain is complex and uncomfortable. We know reducing the experience of mental stress and maintaining a level of fitness using moderate physical activity correlate to less likelihood of chronic back pain. Walking gives us the opportunity to work on both the mental and physical aspects of our well-being. There is power in simplicity; take a walk, and enjoy the experience, rather than counting steps or calories burned. You might be surprised what you discover.
*From Brain Pickings: https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/06/03/wanderlust-rebecca-solnit-walking/