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2017-06-14 / Columnists

The Counseling Corner

Let’s All Go Outside and Take a Walk!
from the American Counseling Association

Looked outside lately? Yes, that’s sunshine and warm weather—a perfect time to get out and get moving. Yes, we know you’ve heard it before. Well, maybe these facts can help motivate you.

First, being sedentary isn’t all your fault. Today’s world is full of things that make life easier and have reduced physical work.

Take that job of being a homemaker. One British study found that in the early 1950s the average woman burned more than 1,000 calories a day working around the house. Today that number has shrunk to about 550 calories a day.

Thank you, work-saving appliances. Outside the house? Sitting in front of that computer doesn’t burn many calories.

At the same time it’s estimated that the number of calories we eat has increased considerably. Blame it on packaged and processed foods, all those fast food restaurant choices and the fact that we eat out more these days.

In 1970 it was estimated that Americans ate an average of 2,150 calories each day. Today that number is up to 2,760.

Eating smarter and healthier is a big part of the answer. Sometimes that means choosing a salad or declining that second helping.

But to make a real difference, an exercise program also should be part of every person’s life.

Regular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, some cancers, high blood pressure and several other health issues.

Counselors recommend it for the mental health benefits it brings. Regular exercise has been shown to help overcome depression, increase self-esteem, reduce stress and anxiety and even improve memory and overall thinking.

So take advantage of this summer weather. And it’s not necessary to become a gym rat. Even a 10-minute walk every day can surprise you with the benefits it can bring.

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