Today, my workout involved nothing more than a leisurely walk. I didn’t do anything intense and my heart rate was not elevated. And that was likely the best thing I could have done for my health today…I feel less stress (in fact I feel pretty relaxed), my body feels recovered from harder workouts this week, and I’m more mentally focused.
Ancestral hunter-gatherers likely walked an average of 9 to 15km every day (Marlowe 2010), often carrying food, supplies and their children. They engaged in food preparation, tool-making, hunting and fishing — all low intensity work. And elders in traditional populations even today do a lot of low-intensity movement. They’re not chronically addicted to high- intensity exercise (although they occasionally work hard)…and many live long and healthy lives.
So when I say “walking your way to longevity”, I really mean it. Regular low-intensity movement helps prevent inflammation and damage from oxidization — things that can eventually lead to chronic diseases. It not only promotes healthy metabolic functions and body composition levels, it also provides the base for more strenuous activity when required. And it certainly reduces stress.
Here are some things you can do to improve your state of being:
- Take a long walk outdoors.
- Spend some time in nature, even if it’s a city park.
- Gor for a hike
- Work on the garden
- Play with your kids or your dog
What can you do right now (or at least today)?
Remember — it’s not always about hitting the weights. Sometimes you have to get outside and hit the grass!