Today’s Solutions: June 12, 2024

It’s no secret that regular exercise is good for our health—physical, mental, and emotional. However, during the week our schedules can get pretty hectic, which leaves us hunched over our desks, visualizing all the work that’s piling up in our minds, all the while talking ourselves out of the quick afternoon power walk we had planned. Don’t worry, I can make up for it with a three-hour stroll on Saturday we tell ourselves.

However, does this really work? Do our extra-long catch-up walks give us the same health benefits as the recommended half-hour of daily movement? Here’s what Sidney Glasofer, MD, FACC, and New Jersey-based Atlantic Medical Group board-certified cardiologist has to say about it: “Daily movement is better for your overall health.”

Well, darn. There goes our justification for skipping walks on heavy workdays.

“It is better not just for your heart health but for your mental health,” Dr. Glasofer adds. So, even if you simply can’t give yourself 30 minutes of walking time, going for a walk for any duration can help boost your mood and your health.

According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, an overly sedentary lifestyle has been linked to a range of potential health issues such as hypertension, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and depression. The Mayo Clinic also reveals that this problem of sitting too much is a modern problem (surprise, surprise).

These days, the average American sits between 13 and 15 hours every day, which is alarming considering that two centuries ago, the figures were between three and five hours.

Dr. Glasofer’s suggestion is to get up and out for a moderate walk at least 30 minutes, three to five days out of the week. Don’t overcomplicate it—walks can be as simple as scheduling a lunchbreak walk, or trading in your usual commute for a stroll into the office. “Find whatever time you can for yourself to escape, get outside, and exercise,” he says.

Lean into your natural tendencies to make these daily walks easier for yourself. If you know you’re a morning person, then leave 15 minutes early for your walking commute or take the long way. If you find that walks give you a second wind, then set an alarm to remind you to refresh yourself with a couple of 15-minute walks in the afternoon. The main thing is to get yourself outside and moving, regularly, no matter what time it is. 

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