If you want to add good, healthy years to your life, make a commitment to walk at least 30 minutes a day. Movement and exercise were a key factor in my healing from cancer, and still play a big part in my life today. When I was healing, I walked every day, whether it was below zero weather or 100 degrees. I visualized my healing as I walked, and practiced deep breathing for at least 10 minutes—in through my nose and out through my mouth, holding my breath for 5 seconds each time. It really helps to get that oxygen in; every cell in your body needs oxygen and cancer hates it.I didn’t see anyone at the Kushi Institute walking as much as I did while I was there, and I seemed to improve so much faster with it. I hiked for hours on the weekends and just felt so much better after exercising and being out in nature. I joined groups and hiked through the mountains; being with like-minded people and getting in shape feels good.
Walk It Off
I believe walking is as important as a healthy diet for healing and preventing health issues. Just 30 minutes fully activates the lymphatic system, triggers the anti-aging process, turns on DNA repair, increases circulation and mobility, improves sleep, and lifts your mood by giving you the same endorphin release as high-intensity exercise without the strain to the body. Once you get started, you can get addicted to it, but it’s a healthy addiction—your body’s way of telling you what it needs to thrive.
If you are looking for weight loss and getting in shape, you can step up your game to one hour of walking once a day to tone muscles and activate the fat-burning enzymes or twice a day to keep them working for the full 24 hours. I personally know people who have lost up to 40 pounds just by walking an hour a day.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
When I go to the gym, I see very few people of retirement age, yet movement is so important as we get older. You’re never too old to start moving and improve your health and mood. It’s remarkable how you lose stiffness and increase mobility with just yoga-type stretches and deep breathing. You don’t need to do any of the trendy, strenuous workouts; walking is natural to our bodies and doesn’t require a recovery time.
I used to do strenuous workouts through long distance running and biking, and lifting weights. I was hooked on that endorphin high, but tired whenever I wasn’t exercising. I was burning out my adrenals and running on empty. I get the same endorphin rush from walking now, but my body doesn’t suffer the consequences it did when I pushed it too hard. Walking barefoot in the grass or dirt is even better; it allows you to absorb electrons from the earth and gives your cells a recharge, and the sun exposure helps you make Vitamin D, which so many of us are deficient in.
James Templeton founded Uni Key Health Systems in 1992 and now the Templeton Wellness Foundation as a way of giving back and helping others achieve the health and wellness they are seeking. This story was originally published on the Templeton Wellness Foundation Blog.