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There is a simple holistic practice that if done daily, in a particular way, will catapult your health tenfold—it’s called walking. It’s holistic because it influences your body, mind, and spirit—all of you, the essence of who you are.

Walking for health can give you profound results and it just may be a profound experience. Listen, you are not meant to be sedentary; if you’re not moving your body, you raise your risk for chronic disease considerably, period.

What is this “particular way” of walking? It comes down to two parts.

Part One: Call It Exercise

Everybody is in a different place when it comes to fitness; start where YOU are. If you have been not moving your butt at all and a five minute walk is going to be your next step, that’s beautiful. That’s what you’re going to do.

If walking around the block is your next step, wonderful. If walking three houses down and back is your next step, okay. You must start where you are and take your next step… literally.

Now here’s where you’re headed: Start where you are and gradually work up to 50 minutes a day, five to six days a week, integrating hills and/or stairs. This will give you a very good workout. It’s going to raise your heart rate.

walking for health

Part Two: Call It Daily Integrated Movement

How many hours are in a day? It isn’t a trick question; there’s 24 hours in a day. Let’s say you’re sleeping for about eight hours, ideally. That leaves approximately 16 hours that you’re awake. If you’re telling me you’re going to intentionally move your body for one hour out of 16, I’m telling you that’s not going to cut it. It simply won’t make the grade.

Our ancestors did not sit around; they walked on average four to five miles a day. They walked to live, they walked to get their food, and they walked to go to shelter. Yes, times have changed, so what exactly are you supposed to do with information about your ancestors.

Granted we’re not living in days of old, but folks, your ancestors thrived pre-chronic disease, and pre-chronic degenerative disease, so it’s helpful to know what they did that you’re not doing, and what you’re doing that they didn’t. Trust me, walking for your health and longevity is a smart strategy.

Let’s break this down… Most of us eat a few times a day—three, four, five, or even six times. It’s time to think about walking along those lines. Here’s the thing though— these walks don’t have to be up hill, fast-paced, or even get your heart rate up.

Put on decent walking shoes, don’t worry about what you’re wearing, and just get out and walk. Get out and walk. Walking outdoors in the fresh air with a bit of sunshine is the best; go absorb that vitamin D. Walk after meals and walk to take breaks from sitting during work.

Walking for Health Is a Smart Strategy

The research shows if you sit over eight hours a day, your risk of Diabetes Type II increases by 90 percent! That’s right, 90%. Now just because the research says eight hours, do you think I’m going to sit for seven? Folks, it’s a number. Don’t sit for more than an hour or two at a time. Get up. You’ve got to integrate movement into your daily routine. Eat a few times, walk a few times; it doesn’t have to be high intensity.

You may have heard Diabetes Type II is an epidemic. Pre-diabetes is in epidemic proportions too, and heart disease is the number one killer of women. It affects over 500,000 women a year, six times more than breast cancer. Here’s what needs to happen—you need to caretake your hormone, insulin. You need to nurture her. 

When you get up and move, guess what happens? The sugar in your blood moves to your cells, rather than lingering and keeping your blood sugar high. It moves into your cells and gives you energy. That’s one significant way you get energy.

Insulin, which is released from your pancreas to transport that sugar from your blood to your cells, is a fat storage hormone. I’m not talking about you looking fat. I’m not saying you need to go on a diet; I don’t subscribe to diet culture. I’m talking about fat triglycerides in your blood. I’m talking about small particle LDL cholesterol creating plaque in your arteries which can lead to heart disease.

Caretake insulin; you do not want blood sugar spikes instigating more and more insulin to be released. If your cells become resistant because they are so worn out, you’ll become insulin resistant, and that can lead to pre-diabetes and Diabetes Type II.

Move. Your. Body.

Walking is a Holistic Lifestyle Practice

It’s a simple thing really… walking. When you walk, you decrease oxidative stress from those nasty chemicals in processed foods that create free radical damage a.k.a. inflammation, sick cells, and cancer.

How about walking for your mind? It’s relaxing and meditative. It opens up the parasympathetic nervous system, easing digestion and relieving the stressors of the day.

What about your spirit? Let me tell you something: you know where I get my most creative bursts of inspiration and aspiration? I get them when I am walking. I get them when I am walking in nature in particular, and they’re available to you too.

Walking is a simple, holistic practice that will catapult your health tenfold. Walk 50 minutes a day—work up to it, and integrate hills and/or stairs. Integrate movement into your daily routine. Walk in your backyard. Do whatever you need to do. Put on a podcast or listen to music; it’s relaxing.

What is your absolute favorite thing about walking? What makes it special for you? Share with us in the comments below

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