5am on a Sunday and the alarm is going off…am I crazy? Yeah, a bit. But, this is the best time of day for me to get sh*t done, and one of these things is exercise. Sure, it’s a battle to get out of bed once in a while but I’ve figured out how to keep myself motivated. Part of this motivation is how great I feel afterwards, and, in fact, I’ve noticed how great I feel even after a short walk in the afternoon. I love moving – it’s one of the most uplifting, easy ways to clear my head, work out the kinks and just feel happy.
Full disclosure – I am also addicted to my Fitbit – I am challenged by it and want to prove to this tiny purple piece of technology that I am not lazy. I have vowed to hit 10,000 steps every day, no matter where I am or what’s happening in my life. But, really, getting 10,000 steps isn’t about being motivated or ambitious – getting 10,000 steps each day is really all about achieving and maintaining the best health possible for me.
We are a sedentary society. We get into our cars or onto the bus, find the closest parking spot (or bus stop), walk to our desk, and plunk ourselves down for 8+ hours. We rarely get out of our seats, except to grab endless cups of coffee and attend to the inevitable bladder issues that arise from such behavior. Now we hear that this sedentary lifestyle is leading to an increase in heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and dementia.
Sitting is apparently killing us yet a lot of people try their best to avoid walking. Where is the disconnect? You would think being told that the risk of disease is exponentially higher the less one moves would motivate people to get up and walk, but this scare tactic is still not working. While the doctors and health practitioners that preach the need to move have good intentions, their advice often excludes the ‘why’ of the matter.
Why will getting 10,000 steps per day help reduce our risk of major disease? Well, the reason boils down to toxic build up and how our bodies cleanse themselves. The elimination and detoxification systems – namely, the liver, the circulatory system, and the lymphatic system – rely heavily on skeletal movement to transport debris, toxins and other nasty stuff out of the body. The lymphatic system (aka, our immune system) destroys and flushes out bacteria, viruses, toxins and chemicals. Lymphatic fluid can only circulate by skeletal movement so the less the body moves the more toxins sit stagnant.
Lack of exercise also slows down your cardiovascular system and its circulatory process, which is vital to the elimination of built-up cholesterol that can cause heart disease. Weight gained from not moving enough can also mess up your body’s hormonal system, leading Type 2 diabetes and poor response to stress.
Cancer is a real risk. The more toxins there are circulating in the body, the more impeded the immune system’s ability to remove debris, mutated cells and other bad guys. Immunity needs to be at its best to really defend us against cancer.
A toxic body is a sick body. Toxins are in the air we breathe, the foods we eat, the cosmetics we apply, and the water we drink. Our organs can only handle so many toxins before they begin to fail. And fail they do. Our bodies are in a constant battle to fight against the toxins they naturally produce and against the toxins we willingly, and abundantly, expose ourselves to each day.
We also put a huge load on our livers, and it is in the liver where ingested and inhaled toxins first come for neutralization and removal. An overburdened liver causes weak immunity and blood sugar imbalances; problems with arterial plaque and associated restricted blood flow can occur.
Have you noticed that you feel a bit better when you take a short walk when you have a head cold? Your movement is helping to break up the mucous and clear your head – this is the same idea of how moving breaks up stagnant toxins and pushes them to the elimination pathways. Challenge yourself to move more – get a fitness tracker, use your phone’s built in accelerometer, or just consciously tell yourself to walk a certain distance every hour. Whatever you do to get yourself up and active, you will help to maintain long term health throughout your life. Who doesn’t want to be healthy in their older years so they can travel, enjoy family time and just be able to do whatever they want?