“Walking is the best medicine.” Hippocrates

     Many studies show that regular physical activity or exercise has a better overall effect on longevity than any other medical treatment.

In order to derive maximum benefit from exercise, you need to perform either 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise.

I just read about the results of a study in Psychology Today that show just 15 minutes a day of walking can reduce your risk of death by 22%.  So if you don’t have time for a half hour walk or just don’t want to break a sweat, 15 minutes a day is good.

Here are the stats:  Low activity,  a 15 minute walk lowers your risk of death by 22%. Medium activity,  more than 15 minutes but less than 30, lowers your risk of death by 28%.  High activity, a 30 minute walk 5 times a week reduces your risk of death by 35%.  The article goes on to say that it is almost not worth knocking yourself out for a few extra percentage points.  Psychologists don’t care about math?

If your stock broker called and told you about a stock that has increased in value every year by 22%, and another stock that increased in value 28%, and yet another stock that increased in value by 35%.  Seriously, I cannot imagine that if the risk was equal, anyone would choose 22% over 35%. There is a saying I like, I think it is from the book, “Eat, Pray, Love”. Here is the saying, ” Money is honey, but health is wealth”. Go for the 35% and walk 30 minutes a day.  Do it every day, then you don’t have to worry, is today a walking day, should I walk today and take off tomorrow?  Just walk every day.  If you take a 30 minute bike ride or a 30 minute hike or go for a 30 minute swim, you can duck out of your walk.  Otherwise, just do it.

If you think 30 minutes is too much time or you think you don’t have 30 minutes every day, consider this.  If you develop heart disease, you will spend hours and hours of your time in doctor’s offices, labs, hospitals.  Getting sick is costly too.  Medical costs are the leading cause of personal bankruptcy.  50% of the people who have a heart attack die.  They don’t get a second chance to invest the 30 minutes a day.  Just do it.  If you are really out of shape and haven’t exercised for a while, you can take it slow for the first week.  Add 5 minutes each week until you are up to 30 minutes a day.  I used to have a client who smoked a long time ago and had part of a lung removed.  He had a condition call intermittent claudication.  Smoking causes you arteries to narrow. He could walk for 5 minutes before his legs would cramp up and he could not take another step.  I said, “Felix, when that happens, just stop for a few minutes, let your circulation catch up with the demands your muscles are placing on it, then walk again, until it happens again.”  He trusted me to do this.  It took a few months, but dear Felix worked up to 34 minutes on a treadmill without any cramping!  The body is so amazing.  You push a little, the body responds.