The Most Important Principles for Staying Young: Stepping Into Good Health

12 Feb

Our basic premise is that your body is amazing. You get a do over. It doesn’t take that long, and it isn’t that hard if you know what to do. In these notes, we give you a short course in what to do so it becomes easy for you, and for you to teach others. We want you to know how much control you have over both the quality and length of your life.

This month, we want to discuss a key secret and principle from my upcoming book, This is YOUR Do-Over: The Seven Secrets to Losing Weight, Living Longer, And Getting A Second Chance at the Life You Want, due out February 24th, 2015 (shameless plug—you can preorder it now).

Devotion to Motion is one of the early chapters—giving you the rational and some of the science to support your taking 10,000 steps a day.

Why is 10K a day the magic number, you might ask? Well, it does several things. For starters, it creates a key pathway in your brain that makes you want to crave that 10K a day several weeks later. And second, it breaks down insulin resistance. I wish science knew the exact mechanism as to why 10,000 works to break down insulin resistance, but what we do know is this: 10,000 steps seem to be the minimum number that provides the most health benefit. In fact, 10K a day breaks down insulin resistance much better than 8K, and 12K doesn’t help more than 10K does. That is, 10K gets you more health benefits than 8,000 steps, and doing 12,000 steps doesn’t get you any more health benefits than taking 10,000 step (yes, you may get more fit, but your health doesn’t get much better over the long-term). So, 10K a day is really the sweet spot where people lose weight and gain control of diabetes (and even reverse it).Why is that important? Because insulin resistance is a big health concern.

But there is another secret: how you take those steps.

In 1970, when John Cleese premiered The Ministry of Silly Walks on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, he stepped into the Comedy Hall of Fame. And despite his deadpan expression, no one who remembers that high-stepping goofiness or tries to imitate it can keep a straight face. That’s because, as researchers from Canada’s Queen’s University recently discovered, HOW you walk affects your memory and your mood. In fact, your gait can transform your outlook from grumpy to gleeful or happy to horrible and even alter whether your recollections of recent experiences are negative or positive.

So before you head out the door, whether you’re going to work and/or taking a walk with your pedometer (your pedometer should be on you during all your waking hours) to get in your 10,000 steps a day, pause. That is correct, pause. Pause just long enough to examine your body’s position in a mirror and think about the message it’s sending your brain. Are your shoulders back and relaxed (“I’m proud of myself and glad to face the world”)? Or are they slumped forward (“I’m tired and not looking forward to what’s coming”)? Is your core strong (“I feel confident”) or is your belly protruding and your back straining to stay straight (“I’m discouraged”)?

Adjust your posture and make sure you’re wearing shoes that put a spring in your step. Now, it’s your turn to do a happy, high-spirited, even silly walk. You’ll be surprised how it makes you feel more positive about everything you encounter. And all the people (even animals you encounter) will be happier too (thanks to mirror neurons but that’s another column), so you are spreading health and happiness… well done!!

Didn’t know your walking style could do so much for so many, did ya?

Thanks for reading. And feel free to send more questions, you can always send us questions at youdocs@gmail.com, and some of them we may know enough to answer (we’ll try to get answers for you if we do not know).

Young Dr. Mike Roizen (aka, The Enforcer)

NOTE: You should NOT take this as medical advice.
This article is of the opinion of its author.
Before you do anything, please consult with your doctor
You can follow Dr Roizen on twitter @YoungDrMike (and get updates on the latest and most important medical stories of the week). The YOU docs have two newly revised books: The patron saint “book” of this column YOU Staying Young—revised and YOU: The Owner’s Manual…revised —yes a revision of the book that started Dr Oz to being Dr Oz. These makes great gifts—so do YOU: ON a Diet and YOU: The Owner’s Manual for teens.
And, you can pre-order and new book by Dr Mike Roizen that hits bookstores February 24th, 2015: This is YOUR Do-Over (look to your local PBS station and its schedule for a special about it).
Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. His radio show streams live on http://www.radioMD.com Saturdays from 5-7 p.m. He is the co-author of 4 #1 NY Times Best Sellers including: YOU Staying Young
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