Friday, May 11, 2012
Walking: The Other Half Of The Story
Because there are plenty of Americans who walk on treadmills, do hours of cardio, work in a warehouse, who don't have the same health benefits as those countries we keep listing as countries that walk more than us.
How often do you hear, oh New Yorkers are skinnier than people in LA because they walk more. Or Europeans are skinnier because they walk more. That's part of it. The other part is, New Yorkers compared to Angelenos also spend more time outdoors! Also the same with Europeans. Yes activity, moving, walking is good. But so is being outside!
Every culture known for a long life is known for spending great amounts of time outside. New York has a lot of parks, and one gigantic one in the heart of the city. Japan has a lot of parks, and nature walks are almost religion there. Europeans walk, eat, ride bikes, meet people, all outside. It's no coincidence that in documentaries when they interview all the obese people it's in their homes. Fit people are interviewed outside.
Being outside, especially in nature lowers stress. Stress makes us want to eat more, and makes us store fat! It increases our immune system. Increases mental acuity. Lowers blood pressure. And according to several Japanese studies, it improves all levels of overall health! Just from being outside. And being outside leads to more activity anyhow.
Next time you feel stressed, maybe your body isn't telling you that you need a snack. Maybe it's telling you that you need to take a break from the activity that is stressing you out. And instead of a snack, what you really need is fresh air. Half the reason smoking is so relaxing and stress relieving is, you have to do it outside, and you have to take deep breaths. It's why people who don't smoke will sometimes go outside with their smoking friends to take a break with them. Because it feels good to be outside and relax!
Let me repeat again. GO OUTSIDE. YOU WILL LIKE IT.