Bouts of unbroken hours of sitting can be detrimental to overall health. “Sitting is the new smoking!” has been recently coined and referenced by both the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). One of the most enjoyable ways to break up sitting is to go for a hike.
We educate and practice two techniques to breaking up sitting; 2-Minute Movement Breaks and Thermal Walks. A 2-minute movement break is as simple as getting up from your chair and going for a small walk or doing some dynamic stretches. A Thermal Walk is a short 10 – 20-minute leisurely walk within 10 – 20 minutes post meal. At H3, our most popular form of a Thermal Walk is a short hike from the main campus through underneath the palmetto trees and through nearby bike paths.
Whether it is a hike in a nearby wooded area or a hike in a national park, hiking is a great way to keep the muscles of your lower body stimulated. The greater the elevation change and the steeper the inclines, the more strength gains you will find in your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Regardless of the terrain, hiking is a great way to improve the muscular endurance of the legs. According to Dr. Dean and Dr. Ayesha Sherzai, who both carry an expertise in neurology and recently guest presented at H3 say that an added benefit to lower body strength and endurance is that it has been shown to be a contributing factor in fighting against degenerative diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Not only does aerobic movement increase mood through the release of “feel good” hormones but so does fresh air, sunlight and the outdoors. Hiking is the ultimate combination of the two. One of our favorite ways to start the day at Hilton Head Health is with a morning sunrise beach walk. Guests who join us for this without hesitation tell us every time that “this is the best way to start the day”. Not only does it start the day off with movement, but it starts the day off with a beautiful scenery and a feeling of connectedness to the world. Ultimately, it starts the day off being in a good mood.