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Get Off the Couch and Get Moving

Researchers who study a particular topic don’t always agree with each other’s conclusion, but one subject on which there is universal agreement is the importance of movement.

A sedentary lifestyle ranks right up there with smoking and obesity as health destroyers and longevity reducers. Movement has not only been found to be good for your body but also good for your brain. The Centers for Disease Control has identified several cognitive benefits from physical activity – including improved thinking, learning, memory, and problem-solving. In addition, it can help improve mood and reduce anxiety. The combo of physical and cognitive benefits are pretty immense for an activity than can be performed without the expenditure of any money, except for a good pair of walking shoes which should be part of your Wardrobe anyway.

Walking has been identified as means of getting your body to move. While 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week is the recommended minimum, It doesn’t have to be done at one time, and some of your normal activities at home and elsewhere may involve more walking than you may recognize – as you move around the house, shop for groceries or exercise your pets. I do think that it’s really helpful, as well as ensuring that you will meet the minimum recommendations, if you have a designated time for a moderately brisk walk of 30 minutes or more. Obviously if your physical condition permits it, increasing your walking time or distance or doing jogging or running can produce additional benefits.

One thing is certain: whatever way you get your body Moving is a healthier way than vegging out on a sofa. There should obviously be a time for relaxing in everyone’s life, but the physical and cognitive rewards of an active lifestyle that involves regular movement activities cannot be duplicated by sitting on a sofa for hours at a time. If your physical condition allows you to walk, embrace the opportunity to make it a regular part of your life.

Ron Kaiser, Ph.D. Psychologist, Educator, Author, Podcaster

Ron Kaiser, Ph.D., is a positive health psychologist, coach, author, podcaster, educator, consultant, and speaker. He has been in practice for more than five decades, including 25 years as Director of Psychology at the world-famous Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University. As an innovative thought leader in the field, he has developed the concepts of THE MENTAL HEALTH GYM, GOAL-ACHIEVING PSYCHOTHERAPY (GAP), THE TYPE P PERSONALITY, and REJUVENAGING®.

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