Walking For Health and Positive Mental Health
Recently, I lost 4 inches off my waist, decreased my blood pressure, lost 5 pounds, became happier, and bonded with my wife, making one simple change in my life. What makes this significant, is that for the past 20 years, I’ve been exercising about four hours per week with weight training and sprinting, trying to spend as much time with Laura’s possible outside the office, keeping my carbohydrate intake as low possible, and overall trying to be as healthy as possible. But even with focusing on all these things, I was always battling with continued weight gain and gaining circumference. Then Laura talked to me about a study she read that said that the best way to lose belly fat was to do medium intensity cardio for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, and that she was going to test out this hypothesis for a class she had (she’s getting her masters in nutrition), and that she needed a guinea pig.
Here’s the link to a summary on the study: https://sweatscience.com/cardio-vs-weights-for-visceral-and-liver-fat/
I obliged. However, I hate running, and I wanted to spend time with Laura, so we decided to walk 4 miles, or 1 hour and 10 minutes, instead of running for 30 minutes, per day. We started walking four miles every morning. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and it’s free!
Some people’s knee jerk reaction would be “but I don’t have time!” To them I would ask, what is your health and happiness worth to you? I’m actually very busy person, but what I did was wake up a little earlier, so that I could walk. I originally actually got the idea for doing this from one of my patients, who was having health problems such as weight gain, elevated budget blood pressure, gallbladder problems, and blood sugar problems. She told me that she started waking up one hour earlier in the morning so that she can walk for hour. She also said that she would walk half hour lunch, however I don’t think she does that anymore. To make a long story short, her blood pressure came down, she lost 30 pounds and she feels great.
If you want to try this experiment, try making a goal of walking 5 miles per week. Try walking 1 mile per day. With the ultimate goal of walking 20 miles a week. Just starting with 5 miles per week, you’ll find that it’s actually very easy to fit that in, and you’ll find out that the more you get used to it the more you can do at one time. Pretty soon you’ll be doing 2 miles a day, or about 10 miles a week then 3 miles a day, 15 miles a week until finally her 20 miles week. The reason why I say 5 miles a week or 1 mile a day is to allow for a day here or there of rain. On these days, I would recommend buying a stationary bike, you can get one on Craigslist for about 100 bucks, or a new one for 250 to peddle while you watch Netflix at home. It’s actually kind of fun.
So that covers how to do it, and how walking can affect your life positively. So why did I say that it helped me bond with my wife? Well here’s the thing, while we walk, we actually do we do a walking/talking kind of meditation and planning. We got this idea years ago from Tony Robbins and do it just about every time we walk. Here’s what we do. The first 15 minutes of walking, we give thanks for what we have in our lives. The next 15 minutes, we go over what our life plans are. The next 15 minutes, we go over what we want to do that day. Believe me, these three, 15 minute periods really help us to communicate our gratitude towards each other in our lives, plan out our day in our lives. It’s really helped us grow closer together as a couple, and we’re both much happier for it. If we walk for more than 45 minutes, which we usually do, the rest the time we just talk to each other about whatever we feel like.
I hope this blog encourages you to take action with exercise in life. Remember, you can just start with one mile day. I also encourage you to practice the 15 minutes of gratitude, 15 minutes of life planning, and 15 minutes of daily planning. If you don’t have somebody to walk with, you can always just say it out loud. There’s a lot of power of the spoken word, and positivity.