Several recent studies confirm that it takes only 5 minutes of walking in a natural setting to boost your self-esteem, improve your mood, and reduce your blood pressure. Very few other choices can provide such large benefits (in such a short time). Certainly, no single medication is likely to provide these benefits, especially without side effects. Therefore, scheduling a walk outdoors at least several days a week can provide incredible health benefits.
The current recommendation for minimal adequate physical activity is to obtain at least 30 minutes of walking on at least 5 days a week. However, for many people, this should be a goal, not a starting point. Furthermore, one should choose whatever physical activity they enjoy as their exercise of choice.
Finally, when you walk can provide even more benefits. Studies have recently confirmed that walking during the first hour after a meal can significantly improve the way glucose (sugar) is handled in the bloodstream. Our blood sugar increases after each meal and requires significant response from the pancreas to produce insulin. Walking after a meal provides a way to move glucose into muscle cells without the need for insulin. Therefore, this is a natural way to treat type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and prevent progression to diabetes.
In summary, we all must plan to get up and get outside at least most days of the week. Ideally, this will involve a planned activity at a park, on a trail, or at the beach!