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October 10, 2012 / mike54martin

Taking Some Steps in the Right Direction

If you want to live well, and live longer then it’s important to take some steps in the right direction. In addition to getting a good night’s sleep every night and having a balanced diet, regular physical exercise is very important to maintaining good overall health and fitness. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something. When you are engaged in that activity, whether it is playing a round of golf or ballroom dancing, it takes you out of your head and your thinking at least long enough to slam the ball off the tee or twirl, and most importantly catch, your partner.

I referee kid’s soccer games a couple of times a week in the summer and while I am doing that my mind is focused almost completely on following that white ball around the field. For a few moments during the game I can actually see the game being played in slow motion, as if time has slowed down to let me catch up. Which is a good thing since it takes me a long time to catch up. It is at those times that I realize that I am not only exercising my body but resting my brain as well.

If you don’t know where to begin then why not try walking? It is one of the oldest and still one of the best forms of exercise known to humans. That is why we crawled upright after being on our hands and knees for millions of years. The health benefits of walking are well known. It burns fat and builds muscles to speed up your metabolism.  And walking an hour a day is also associated with cutting your risk of heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes and stroke. 

Walking is cheap, efficient, and as a side benefit it clears your head. Get a comfortable pair of shoes and start with a brisk fifteen-minute walk at lunchtime. Try not to think about anything in particular and notice what you see or hear. You might be surprised that even in the heart of a downtown concrete jungle there are small pockets of life and green oases to rest your eyes and your mind.

In times of extreme stress or anxiety, nothing beats going for a walk. But to prevent stress and anxiety from building up, why not be proactive and plan to take a regular walk every day? It just might be your first steps in the right direction.

This post first appeared on my blog at

Mike Martin is a writer and the author of The Walker on the Cape, a mystery set in Grand Bank, NL. For more information please visit


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