We are all aware of the benefit of exercise on our overall health. I am a believer that any exercise or activity is better than the alternative. This position allows me to encourage anyone who is taking a step, however small, toward a healthier life. I love hearing how people are taking control of their own health and vitality by adding physical movement and or healthier eating to their daily routine. Even small steps can be huge leaps in a new direction for those who have felt trapped by result of their lifestyle choices.
I was recently introduced to a 2013 study the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. Lead author Loretta DiPietro, Professor and Chair of the Department of Exercise Science, points to the adoption of a simple daily habit as a powerful step toward combating the growing national epidemic of diabetes. Here are two articles that highlight the study findings (BBC News and USA Today).
Could it really be that a simple 10 minute walk after each meal has such a positive effect? I could not be more happy to see studies like this one gain a voice in our current medical landscape. It seems we often rush to drugs and procedures to combat our ills when simple diet and activity changes can yield positive results. I was very excited to share the information with my father over the Thanksgiving holiday. He is a diabetic who is investigating a plant-based diet and daily activity as ways to improve his overall health. We recently celebrated a drop in his diabetic indicators and a decrease in his daily medication due to his lifestyle changes. He is quickly becoming his own best advocate for his health and I could not be more proud of him. While visiting my parents and family we walked together frequently and he feels that he can add the suggested 10 minute post meal walk with ease.
Another discovery from the articles linked above was the concept of the passeggiata. This is an italian tradition of a leisurely evening stroll. The walk is a social one as communities connect with one another after the days work. I am a firm believer in the power of community and connection as essential parts of our overall wellness. Let’s explore extending the path from the dinner table to the television by inserting a brief neighborhood stroll. Even better, invite someone to join you and take a step in the right direction together. No cost, no side effects, just a simple decision to invest in yourself and others.