Walking is my exercise of choice. I have a few avid runner friends who’ve tried to convert me, but walking is just so much more appealing to me. Whether I’m enjoying the city sidewalks, exploring the trails around town, or hiking in the foothills, I always feel better after a walk outdoors. And based on some research I recently came across, I’m totally okay with that.
In “Walking Is the Superfood of Fitness, Experts Say,” a Reuters article that pulls together some of the latest research on walking, I learned that the key to being truly healthy is daily movement. The article focuses on research done by biomechanist Katy Bowman for her book Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement. Bowman explains that our bodies need “movement nutrients” just as much as dietary nutrients. Our bodies were designed to move each and every day—throughout the day.
Bowman uses the term “actively sedentary” to refer to individuals who run 10 miles each morning before spending all of their working hours sitting at a desk. If this describes your own routine, it may not be as effective as you think or hope. As Bowman puts it, “You can’t offset 10 hours of stillness with one hour of exercise.”
Being a freelancer who works from home, I can relate to this dilemma—not running 10 miles each morning, but definitely a burst of exercise followed by large chunks of time sitting at my computer. So what’s the solution?
The article makes mention of an Indiana University study that showed the ill effects of sitting for extended periods of time can be offset to some degree just by getting up for a 5-minute walk every hour. In some offices, this can be accomplished by taking the long way to the restroom or water cooler. For me at home, I can do simple things like take our dog around the block, or I can take a break from my work to put the laundry in the dryer and grab the mail from down the block. Even if I need to use a timer to get myself into the habit, this seems like an easy way to make sure I get my quota of movement nutrients in each day.
Ultimately, we all know that exercise is an essential part of the optimal health equation. Whether you choose walking or something else, just make sure it’s something you truly enjoy doing so you’re more likely to stick with it. If you can work some movement into your routine throughout the day, your body will thank you for it.
What are your favorite ways to get moving throughout the day?
Photo from iStock/Gajus