From Dr. Waldron: Walk this way
Chiropractic is known as a “drugless profession,” one that promotes the body’s innate ability to heal itself. But I recently came across publicity regarding a “wonder drug” that even I can get behind.
According to Dr. Bob Sallis, a medical doctor who practices in California, this drug has been proven to help treat or prevent diabetes, depression, breast and colon cancer, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, anxiety and osteoporosis.
“The drug is called walking,” he said. “Its generic name is physical activity.”
Recommended dosage is 30 minutes a day, five days a week, he continued, but children should double that to 60 minutes a day, seven days a week. Side effects may include weight loss, improved mood, improved sleep and bowel habits, stronger muscles and bones as well as looking and feeling better.
Biking, swimming, dancing, gardening, sports, jogging and aerobics work equally well, Sallis said, but he cites three factors that make walking the most effective treatment: 1) Low or no cost; 2) Simple to do for people of all ages, incomes and fitness levels, and 3) Walking is Americans’ favorite physical activity, so you are more likely to stick with a walking program than with other fitness prescriptions.
Sallis urges all physicians to prescribe walking for their patients because “physical inactivity is pandemic today,” as the authoritative British medical journal The Lancet reported in a special issue devoted to the benefits of physical activity. Studies published in other leading medical journals show that walking and other physical activity could cut rates of many of these diseases by at least 40 percent, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. This would save Americans more than $100 billion a year in health care costs, according to the American Public Health Association.
I completely support this common-sense approach to getting and staying physically fit. Here are some tips to ensure that your spine stays in alignment while walking.
–Walk with proper posture. This starts by lifting your sternum and looking straight ahead, which automatically puts your shoulders and neck into correct alignment.
-If you need to carry a bag, make sure it’s the right one. Avoid bags that interfere with your ability to swing your arms naturally. Consider wearing your bag messenger style, with straps across your body.
– Wear the correct shoes. Ideally, you should strike with your heel and roll through your foot as you walk. High heels are bad for walking, but flip-flops, ballet flats, and mules can pose problems, since they force you to grab with your toes to keep them on your feet.
– Lengthen your stride. It gives you a nice stretch, similar to the benefits of yoga.
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