“A decline in walking ability is a major predictor of health problems.”-reported HealthDay. Listed below are small changes with very little inconvenience…but adding them to your life brings major heart-protective benefits. Sedentary people, whether from sitting at a desk at work, or self-imposed because walking is painful or uncomfortable for the feet, have a high metabolic cost. Here are four ideas to lower your metabolic cost today and keep it low everyday.
1. Do not allow yourself to sit for an hour straight. At some point get up and walk for as little as five minutes. Indiana University found, “it only takes one hour of sitting to cut off blood flow in major leg arteries by up to 50%. This damages your feet, legs and prevents proper circulation to your heart.” Are you ready for the exciting part? “The team found that subjects who took a five-minute walk once an hour did not cut off circulation. They want to be clear, they do not mean the subject had less restriction…They didn’t have any restriction of their arteries. The subjects walking pace was just 2 mph., you don’t even have to break a sweat to benefit.” Washington Post. This is easy to add to your life, simply make sure you have comfortable shoes that make walking easy enough to want to do every hour, and the benefit of increased circulation has the added benefit of lowering your metabolic cost.
2. Wear shoes that make walking feel easier, and keep your feet pain-free by always supporting them. Not just when they are running, but when they are walking in sandals or at home in supportive slippers. Most people know to select sneakers that support the arch of the foot, because the sneaker will balance weight distribution and absorb the impact for improved foot health. It is not as obvious when it comes to selecting sandals, even though people walk many miles in their sandals during the summer. Always support your feet, even dress shoes can be properly fitted for support and performance by slipping a custom insert in your shoe. The cutting-edge lab at Shu-Re-Nu, in the U.S.A., hand crafts each insert. Foot Solutions highly trained and certified staff performs the foot analysis and measurements, using the most advanced state-of-the-art technology. If your feet feel good, you will walk more and lower your metabolic cost.
3. Maintain a strong posture when you walk – this will encourage your body to pull strength from your core. You can do this by lifting from your center and focusing in front of you when walking, instead of down at your feet. That lifted feeling will make walking easier on your body. The engaged feeling will help you feel lighter on your feet, and lighter means lower metabolic cost.
4. Have a good attitude about moving your body. Attitude is one of the few things we can control. Take charge of your thoughts about walking, if the mind thinks it is doing something pleasurable, and the body is pain-free and able to enjoy the walk, the metabolic cost will be low. Walk outside and engage your senses, look at the scenery, listen to the birds and smell the fresh air.
“Many of our expectations about the inevitability of physical decline with advancing years may be INCORRECT and that how we age is, to a large degree, up to us.” –The New York Times 1/7/2015