Small business owners and executives, a “walking for wellness”initiative may be just the starting point needed
“Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live in”
What Do The Statistics Tell Us?
While most of us resolve to living healthier lives for 2015, the latest research shows that we’re somehow moving in the wrong direction. According to the World Health Organization, despite the increasing media attention to healthy lifestyles, there are now more overweight individuals than an undernourished population worldwide.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention statistics for 2014 states that more than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese, 29.1 million people have diabetes and 67 million American adults (31%) have high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 adults. Sedentary lifestyles are one of the most recognized public health threats. Inactivity is second only to cigarette smoking as a contributory cause of death and, if current trends continue, is expected to surpass smoking in coming years.
What Is Keeping Us From Optimal Health?
Why this paradox?
Getting individuals to achieve a level of wellness is at the forefront of the medical and health professional field. This is the first time where being in control of one’s health and investing time and money to attain a certain level of well being is poised to be a dominant societal theme. Nevertheless, when it comes to setting yearly personal goals focusing on health, quick fixes that don’t last, jeopardize our confidence and diminish self-efficacy.
Four factors play a key role in our continuous journey of setbacks:
- Demands and the complexities of everyday life have never been greater contributing to high levels of stress.
- An array of wellness guides, products and services make it challenging to create a personal formula.
- Navigating obstacles for making changes causes confusion, resistance and ambivalence.
- History of repeated failure may lead to the belief that mastering wellness is unattainable.
How Can Current Circumstances Change?
Despite these challenges, developing a personal blueprint for wellness and becoming confident in the ability to implement it is the first approach to modifying an existing lifestyle habit. For some, initiating an exercise regimen may require many motivating factors, especially if doing it alone. However, studies show that peer, family and/or professional support can be effective in increasing people’s adherence to exercise.
The latest research just released this month in the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that the risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, depression and other life-threatening conditions can be reduced through daily outdoor walking in groups.
The lead researcher, Sarah Hanson, stated that joining a walking group is one of the best and easiest ways to boost overall health with benefits being wide ranging, going above and beyond making people more physically active. People who joined walking groups registered statistically significant falls in average blood pressure, resting heart rate, body fat, weight and total cholesterol.
Walkers also experienced improvements in lung power, overall physical functioning, general fitness and were less depressed than before they started walking regularly. Even more importantly, taking regular walks became a catalyst for adopting other healthy behaviors.
Delving further into research, studies conducted on “walk breaks”during work hours found that walkers felt considerably more enthusiastic, less tense, more relaxed and had better coping skills compared to those who did not participate in the “walk breaks.” Strong evidence supports that feeling more productive and enthusiastic at work increases work productivity.
About the author
Cecilia DeMatteo, MS, is currently a freelance writer in the field of health and nutrition with publication in a recurring column, independent articles and book outlines. In the number of years spent in this field, Cecilia’s focus has been primarily on individual lifestyle habits and how they impact human health. Her writing provides readers insight into adapting preventative measures to reduce modifiable risk factors that contribute to the cause of today’s chronic conditions. Through her timely and related articles, her audience acquires a greater knowledge in the latest evidence-based scientific research in overall health. Cecilia DeMatteo, MS, is the former Co-Founder of Enhanced Health Coaching (EHC) in Scarsdale, NY. EHC’s commitment was to provide personalized strategies for both corporate and individuals seeking to optimize cardiovascular health. Cecilia holds a Master’s of Science in Nutrition and a BBA in Finance.Website