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Sleep problems from too much caffeine, too much stress, too little exercise? There are pills for that. Overweight from too much of the wrong food? There’s a surgery to take care of that. Depressed because of other people making your life miserable? A cure in a pill bottle is available at the stroke of a pen.
Sadly, many of these medications only enrich the companies that make them, leaving Americans with a host of side effects and dependence on their new “solution.”
Obviously, some medications are lifesaving or can give a better quality of life. I thank God for those. But I often wonder how many pill bottles could be thrown out if we gave our all to reorganizing our lives and decide to turn things around with better eating and exercise.
The long dark winters in Wisconsin are terrible. Short, cold days of being indoors can lead to seasonal depression and “hibernation eating”, as I call it. It’s hard to get enough exercise when the arctic winds blow and the snow comes.
In spring, it’s like coming out of a tomb. New life beckons as the grass turns green and the winds are balmy.
In 2008, I decided to do something about the winter doldrums and the physical lethargy and began walking. For the entire summer, I tried to walk at least 5 times a week, briskly, for half an hour. We have hills here, so it was easy to get a good workout.
At the same time, I cut out any junk eating and set some good limits. The results at my next checkup were astonishing. Cholesterol dropped significantly, blood sugar, which had been marginal, plummeted well into normal range, ten pounds fell off. Mentally, I felt sharper, and energy increased.
So, after several years of falling into old habits, I’ve decided to once again get back to basics. If anyone would like to join me and try an 8 week experiment, feel free to take up the challenge. With Type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease rampant in this country, we can fight back even by making modest, sustainable changes.
As for the long, dark winters, I am already thinking about how to get in exercise. All the gains of spring, summer and fall can be undone with one lazy winter. A friend of mine uses a mini-trampoline. I’m not sure that’s a good idea for me. I picture spectacular mishaps, particularly if Emmy decides to join me on there, so I think that I’ll have to stick to mall walking or some other means.
My sister runs marathons and just won 4th in her age division at a half marathon. For me, I’ll be happy to walk my way to better fitness! I can’t pound the pavement, but I can walk it with purpose.
Think about joining me in the exercise and sunshine cure. Even moderate changes can reap good results. Nothing lifts spirits and gives energy like moving one step at a time towards better health.