April 11, 2015 / 2013 / June / The Carrot and the (Walking) Stick

The Carrot and the (Walking) Stick

submitted June 28, 2013 by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1>The Carrot and the (Walking) Stick</h1>

The Stick

We have already told you that sitting is killing you. Not only that, it's making us "fat and achy." Fortunately, the solution is easy:

  1. Remember to stand once an hour.
  2. Get about 30 minutes of activity per day.

Of course, even this is often easier said than done. I know personally, I can go for quite a long period at work without remembering to move around a little. Before long, two hours or more have passed by while I have barely moved a muscle.

Fortunately, the physical act of standing is not a barrier for me. I also have plenty of time (theoretically) to get in 30 minutes of activity a day. So why don't I? Paraphrasing Newton's First Law of Motion, 

"An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion..."

That is certainly true in my case. While at work, I tend to stay seated at my desk. Unfortunately, there is little cause for me to take a walk down the hall to discuss something with the staff of our friends at St. Paul's. Basically, unless I'm traveling I could spend all day seated at my desk with little cause to move. This is not good. 

I also love to watch sports. And movies. And television series. You can see where this is going; I spend way too much time in front of a screen of some sort throughout my day. The We Can! program encourages us to help our children eat better, exercise more and reduce screen time. I'm well aware of my need to practice what I preach. 

The Carrot 

Some people quit smoking because they realize how costly it is, how terrible it makes them feel and because of the damage they are doing to their bodies. Others quit smoking because they want to breathe easier, feel good and live longer. Two sides of the same coin, but for whatever reason, some are motivated more by one than the other.

We have already mentioned the stick in the opening paragraph of this post, highlighting again the dangers of sitting. What about the carrot? Aside from the obvious and previously linked health benefits, why would one want to take a walk?

One of my favorite websites is The Art of Manliness. Their recent post entitled "Solvitur Ambulando: It Is Solved By Walking" is a great read on the various ways that walking can be emotionally beneficial. Some occasions that call for a walk, from their post: 

  1. When you're spiritually dry
  2. When you want to really get to know a place
  3. When you're lacking inspiration
  4. When you're stressed, depressed or anxious
  5. When you need to work through a problem with a friend or lover

There are many other examples with full explanations, but these are some of my favorites. 

We speak often of the ministry of presence as a vital form of health ministry. National Public Radio (NPR) recently featured a story about how taking a walk in the woods can help cultivate the ability to be present by practicing the art of 'noticing' while walking. From the story:

Refining our capacity to notice is an act of reverence that we can bring to everywhere and everywhen. It's an invitation, bringing the world's most basic presence into view, opening our horizons and restoring our spirits.

Ready to build a habit of walking? Check out these tips for making the habit stick from successful exercisers!

More Walking in the News:

Photo Credit: HarrietHorne

Be Careful When Walking!