Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Walking in the Woods

This is a blog about walking and an article to relieve stress and boost your immune system.  I am always trying to get healthier and today I am going to get weighed.  I came across this article and it fits what I wanted to talk about today. “Work, home, even in the car, stress is a constant struggle for many people.  But it’s more than just exhausting and annoying.  Unmanaged stress can lead to serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.” There are a lot of things that can lead to stress.  When it becomes hard to sleep then it is a problem.
The article says: “The American lifestyle is fast-paced and productive, but can be extremely stressful.  If that stress is not addressed, our bodies and minds suffer, said Dr. Aaron Michelfelder, professor of family medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.  Our bodies need sleep to rejuvenate and if we are uptight and stressed we aren’t able to get the rest we need.  This can lead to serious physical and mental health issues, which is why it’s extremely important to wind down, both body and mind, after a stressful day.”  After a stressful day it is important to not keep being bothered by a problem or whatever else makes you stressed.  I need my sleep.  I do not have a hard time falling asleep.
The article says: “According to M|ichelfelder, one of the best ways to wind down and reconnect after a stressful day is by taking a walk.  Though any walking is good, walking in the woods or in nature has been proven to be even better at reducing stress and improving your health.  When we get to nature, our health improves. Michelfelder said.  Our stress hormones rise all day long in our bloodstream and taking even a few moments while walking to reconnect with our inner thoughts and to check in with our body will lower those damaging stress hormones.  Walking with our family or friends is also a great way to lower our blood pressure and make us happier.”  While I do not get to the woods to walk, I do walk.  If I have a problem it does make sense to walk and reason the problem out.  It feels better.
Here is an interesting fact: “Research out of Japan show that walking in the woods also may play a role in fighting cancer.  Plants emit a chemical called phytoncides that protects them from rotting and insects.  When people breathe it in, there is an increase in the level of ‘natural killer ‘cells, which are part of a person’s immune response to cancer.”  That makes person want to walk in the woods as much as they can. I walk also to lose weight and in the last two weeks I have changed my lifestyle again to better lose the pounds.  Today I get weighed and if I lost at least two pounds I will know that my lifestyle changes are working.  This is not the big test in two weeks I will have my labs taken and that is the big test to see how my blood sugar is doing and hopefully low number for diabetes. It also says: “When we walk in a forest or park, our levels of white blood cells increase and it lowers our pulse rate, blood pressure and level of stress hormone cortisol, Michelfelder said.  He also suggests reading, writing, meditating or reflecting to help calm the mind after a long day.  To help calm the body yoga and breathing exercises also are good.  If you want to wind down, stay away from electronic screens as they activate the mind.  Electronic devices stimulate brain activity and someone’s post on Facebook or a story on the evening news night might cause more stress, Michelfelder said.” I am going to have to try walking in a park as I have no woods close by. I also had been meaning to start reading again. I’m going to have to see what is out now that I would like.

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