When the cooler months settle in, sometimes we feel less inclined to get outside and exercise. The good new is, there is no better cooler activity to boost health than getting outside and hiking! So, in this blog post, let’s explore some of the health benefits associated with this perfect cool weather activity.
Exercise is a must for all of us. There is no exception. Humans are designed for movement and physical activity, and the best way to ensure that we will get needed amounts of exercise is to find activities that we enjoy and will WANT to participate in. Some of the most important health-boosting things that hiking does for us is it improves cardiovascular health. Remember that the leading cause of death in the US remains heart disease, so certainly steps (no pun intended) we can take to improve heart health makes sense. Hiking also helps improve muscular endurance and condition, which trust me, is a good thing. Hiking also improves lung function, and with as much time as most of us are forced to spend inside, any excuse to get outside in the fresh air is something that our lungs will thank us for!
Something that we might not think about, but is a major health concern especially as we age, is bone density. Hiking is a weight bearing activity that can help increase bone density, which decreases the risk of conditions such as osteoporosis. Maintaining adequate bone density as we age decreases the risk of breaks and fractures.
Hiking is also a great way to help lower the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. These are three conditions in which the majority of medications prescribed in the US are linked to. It is also worth noting that daily outdoor exercise has been shown to be more effective at treating depression than the leading prescription drugs for the condition. These conditions also lead to more serious health conditions, so avoiding things like high blood pressure is something that we should focus on.
Hiking is a great form of exercise to assist with weight management. 2 in 3 people in the US are overweight and over 1/3 of the population is classified as obese. It is apparent that we need more ways to help control body weight, which leads to more health complications, and hiking can be an enjoyable way to motivate you to exercise. It is also a great activity that we can do with others, which helps to improve our level of social wellness.
One final benefit of hiking that we also might not think about in terms of exercise, is it helps us have more restful sleep. Sleep is necessary in order for the body and mind to recover from the day and anytime we exercise, we help ensure better sleep. Getting more sleep helps with things such as improve mood, better skin, less likelihood of accidents, and lowering the overall risk of chronic disease.
The awesome thing is, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the health benefits that hiking offers, so when time and weather allows, take a hike! And better yet, invite others to go with you. Many areas have clubs that meet once a week and do group hikes together. Make certain to take certain precautions like bringing plenty of water, healthy snacks, a first aid kit, and map. It is important to stay on the paths and not venture too far from your vehicle, especially in areas that are unfamiliar. Let others know where you are hiking, and be aware of local wildlife precautions as well. Other than that, go out and have an adventure!
Chances are if you have come into my office for a muscle injury, arthritis, stiff joints, or other musculoskeletal issue, we have had a conversation about supplementing with turmeric. Because of the powerful health-boosting benefits of this ancient spice, I wanted to take the time to write a short article explaining what I feel to be the top 5 reasons to consume it on a daily basis.
One important thing to keep in mind is the fact that turmeric has undergone dozens of research studies. The health benefits that we will discuss in this article have strong science-based findings to back up the claims. Turmeric has been used in India as a medicinal herb for thousands of years, and now we are seeing more and more reasons why!
The bioactive compounds that are responsible for turmeric’s healing qualities are called curcuminoids. The most notable of these is curcumin. Curcumin is the primary active ingredient in turmeric, and is what is responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties. The majority of studies conducted center around curcumin. It is important to note that curcumin does not occur in high enough quantities in raw turmeric to elicit the desired health benefits, therefore taking a supplement high in curcumin is generally recommended.
Curcumin is not well absorbed by itself into the blood stream, but the good news is that black pepper can increase the absorbability of curcumin by up to 2000%. Therefore, when using a curcumin supplement, look for one that contains peperine, which is the active ingredient found in black pepper.
Now to the health benefits that I find to be the most important regarding turmeric. These are only 5 of the science-backed benefits, so keep in mind that more and more studies are being conducted and finding even more reasons to add turmeric into your healthy nutrition program.
Again, this is a list of only 5 health related benefits offered by turmeric, so further research will continue to bring forth even more reasons to take a daily turmeric/curcumin supplement. Remember the importance of using a black pepper extract as well in order to boost the absorbability of the curcumin. For more information regarding quality turmeric supplements, contact our office at Prana Chiropractic and Wellness via www.pranachiro.com We always welcome your questions and as with any nutritional supplement, check with your trusted healthcare provider prior to using it. One important note to keep in mind, if you are currently on blood thinner or have any blood-related disorder, you MUST consult with your healthcare provider before using. Turmeric can have a slight blood thinning effect, so check with your doctor first!
Dr. Christopher Weaver DC, PAK is a Doctor of Chiropractic and Professional Applied Kinesiologist. He's published two books on health and Wellness.