Let’s Go For a Walk

This is a good week to talk about taking a walk. When it comes to health care, I consider mobility a goal of the highest priority. The one other goal about which i feel this way is blood sugars; I’ll pay any price to keep patients’ blood sugars normal. And I’ll pay any price to keep a person mobile. When my kids were growing up, and they were feeling crummy (I’m cranky; I don’t feel well; I’m bored; I have too much homework), I would always say, “Go for a walk!” It got to be a joke in our house. They took it to the next level. Fever? Go for a walk! Migraine? Take a hike!  Broken leg? Walk it off! Appendicitis? “Very funny,” I said.

Bodies are meant to move, and walking is just about the best solution for a whole host of problems. A walk is a great thing after Thanksgiving dinner and in the days after. It calms and focuses your mind, protects your mobility, modulates your blood sugar, and improves your sleep. It’s a win-win.

Activity is a powerful mood stabilizer, maybe the most powerful, which makes it a great way to perk up a droopy mood or calm your mind after an intense family get-together. It will keep your circulatory system working well, which makes your skin look good and keeps you looking younger. It keeps you vibrant in all the ways that count. Finally, because movement lets you turn some of the food you ate into physical energy, it helps to keep your weight and blood sugars in the normal range. When you go for a walk, you are doing a lot.

You don’t need to train for a marathon or an iron man competition. Just make a few opportunities to move a little bit more than you did last week.

Lastly, a word about pets. One reason that dog owners are generally in better health is the benefit that accrues from having your pet take you for a walk every day. This morning I drove past the following sign at a local church: Pray every day — walk with God. That works, too.

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