Some may wonder why The Wellness Clinic offers free counseling before starting the program. It’s very simple. Before people start their journey to better health, they need to know that just because they sign up doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. It’s a lot of work, but it’s well worth the effort.
Losing weight, lowering blood pressure, reversing diabetes or prediabetes, and lowering cholesterol are all possible. But there is no easy solution. We don’t have a magic wand or a magic pill. What we offer is an excellent education based on what the latest scientific research has to offer. We provide you with motivational techniques and ultimately a path to better health, less stress, and a happier life.
With all this effort to change our lifestyles, what are we actually achieving? That’s what Zach asked me when he came to enroll in our program. Zach is 44 years old. Over the past eight years his weight has increased by 12 kg and he is starting to have health problems. He is pre-diabetic and his blood pressure, which has always been normal, is slowly rising. He does not do any formal exercise on a daily basis and his physical fitness level is low. But to his credit, Zack realized he needed to make some changes.
Health starts with positive changes
Changing your habits and behaviors is a shortcut to achieving good health. When you ingrain good, healthy behaviors into your daily life, your chances of getting sick are significantly reduced. So if you start walking briskly six days a week, build muscle twice a week, and change to a healthier diet (and lose weight as a result), you increase your chances of living a better life.
How important is exercise? Let’s take a closer look at what decades of research shows about prioritizing exercise in your life.
Diabetes: If you are prediabetic or have a family history of diabetes, exercising can reduce your chances of developing diabetes by 58%.
Early death: A Harvard University study of 10,000 graduates showed that those who exercise had a 23% lower risk of premature death.
Osteoarthritis: If you’re older and in pain, start walking six days a week to reduce your pain and disability by up to 47%. Reliance on medications for pain relief may be greatly reduced or completely eliminated.
Alzheimer’s disease: Exercise is one way you can reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Even for people who are already in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, exercise can slow the progression by up to 50%. This is a very important number.
Anxiety: Reduce anxiety by 48%
Depression: Moderate exercise reduces symptoms in 30% of patients. For those who were able to train more intensely, 47% were able to overcome depression.
Fatigue: Again, exercise is the main treatment.
Low Fitness: One of the strongest predictors of early mortality is poor cardiorespiratory fitness.
How much time and effort do you need to invest?
If you can walk at a moderate to fast pace for 30 to 35 minutes every day, you’ll get all of the benefits listed above, and sometimes more. The minimum amount of cardio you should aim for is 150 minutes per week. Aerobic exercise uses oxygen as the main energy source. Walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, rowing, jumping rope, etc. will give you the desired effect. I focus on walking because it’s the easiest form of aerobic exercise. While 30 to 35 minutes of continuous walking is ideal, research shows that even a 10-minute brisk walk can be very valuable.
Make walking to work or shopping a daily routine. That way, you don’t even have to set aside a designated time. It’s also a good idea to schedule a time to go for a walk with a friend. Enjoy your company! Before starting a walking program, you should see your doctor for a complete medical evaluation. You can start once you have your doctor’s approval.
Some more walking tips
Sedentary people should start slow and work their way up.
Start walking at a comfortable pace, feeling as if you are a little late for your appointment.
Maintain good posture when walking and look straight ahead.
Swinging your arms significantly increases the amount of calories you burn. Make sure your arms don’t move forward and cross in front of you.
Proper walking shoes that are strong and durable are essential. If you don’t wear the right shoes, you may experience some discomfort or even get injured. For most people who walk a lot, five to six months is the limit on how long their shoes will last.
Avoid boredom and monotony by carrying music and audio lectures with you. It’s a good idea to change your walking route from time to time.
Be sure to take precautions against extreme weather. Even in winter, wear a hat, stay hydrated, and dress appropriately for the season.
Be careful to stay hydrated even in the cold season. Remember to drink plenty of water before and after your walk.
Remember, this is all to increase your chances of health. Nothing is foolproof and nothing is 100% preventable. However, the evidence is clear that exercise and eating a good diet – a plant-based diet – improves health and quality of life at any age. In future articles, I’ll share more about my recent health scares and adventures so we can all learn some very important lessons together.
Zach has only been in our program for 6 weeks. He has lost some weight, his blood pressure has gone down, and he is already off his diabetes medication. It’s not magic. It’s hard work and effort. Increase your chances of adding hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life by incorporating healthy habits into your life.
The author is a health and wellness coach and personal trainer with over 25 years of professional experience and was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees of the True Health Initiative. He is the Director of Wellness His Clinic and can be contacted at email@example.com.