If you've been struggling with trying to get more activity in your life, let me tell you a secret...walk. That's what we should be telling people.In order to get almost all of the benefit in terms of lowering your risk of chronic disease, improving your mood, helping you control the weight,all you need to do is escape the bottom 20 percent in terms of fitness level. And to do that all you need to do is walk 30 minutes on most, if not all days.I'm one of the people who wrote the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for people who want to increase their physical activity.
James Rippe, MD:
And we basically recommended that people try to accumulate 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, if not all days. So the key words there are accumulate and moderate intensity.You don't have to do it all at once. You can find three ten minute slots. Walk the dog in the morning. Take a little fitness walk at lunch. Walk with your spouse in the evening ten minutes.That will do it. That will get you out of the bottom twenty percent. And the other thing is moderate intensity. It doesn't have to be intense.I've often said to people, you should be able to do this level of activity and carry on a normal conversation.You can't shout and you can't sing opera, but if you can carry on, if you're not able to carry on a normal conversation, you're exercising too hard.All the work that we did in walking sounds very simple, but all of the work that we did in walking won me many years ago, from the nutrition columnists at USA Today,the accolade of Father of the American walking movement. I'm very proud of that, but that was about twenty years ago.So she called me about five years ago and said, I think now we should call you the grandfather of the American walking movement. So, I've gotten over that. But the bottom line here.If you've been trying to get more physical activity into your life is, don't go anything any more complicated than walking. It's easy to do.All you need is a good pair of walking shoes and an all weather suit so that you can, if you're in cold weather areas where you can, or get into a mall. A very simple kind of thing.We make it too hard. Walking is what we should be encouraging everybody to do if you have been previously sedentary.