This edition of Hood Health focuses on the importance of daily exercise
We live in a sedentary society nowadays. That means that most people spend the majority of the day sitting on their butts with no extreme range of movement. Think about how many hours many sit on down during work or while they are using transport (car, subway, bus, train, etc) to get from point A to point B. Our ancient ancestors were at first hunters and gatherers who had to move around constantly just in order to make sure that there was food for the day. Nowadays, Americans go to the grocery store to buy already “hunted” and “gathered” food. They also don’t even have to cook the food if they don’t want to, having the option of restaurants, delis or a fast food joint. The byproduct of this lack of movement though has dire consequences.
The human body is made to be moved. It is not made to sit still. In order to keep it in optimum working order as it ages, it is imperative that movement is a part of its daily routine. It’s just like a car that stands still too long; there will be problems. Many of the problems that arise from lack of movement can be solved with simple movement. If added to one’s daily diet, the problem often will correct itself or it won’t even make an appearance. The issues though connected with being sedentary are evident across America nowadays and especially within the Black and Brown community.
The rise and presence of obesity in the Black and Brown community is a combination of two factors. One factor is strong adherence to S.A.D.(Standard American Diet), which is heavy in sugar, carbs, fried food, salt, etc. When you combine this diet with lack of exercise and movement in general you have people gaining/retaining weight that is way beyond what their frame was designed to carry. The rise of Type II diabetes and the steady growth of high blood pressure in the Black and Brown community is also rooted in lack of movement. Hypertension and various forms of heart disease are not far behind. When circulation is not good in the body, the nutrients that need to get to the various parts of the body through blood and oxygen don’t fully make it. This leads to issues like gout and issue with other internal organs like the kidney, liver, bladder or intestines. It’s all connected.
In a society that is so busy, what can you do to ensure movement? There are some small things that you can do. If you live in a building or work in a building with an elevator, try taking the stairs all or part of the way. Instead of trying to find the closest parking space to the store, park a distance so that you have to walk. After or before work make it your business to take a short walk through your neighborhood. If you have the time and seem extra adventurous, add on yoga, cardio exercises or some type of martial art to your routine. Treat yourself every once and a while to go out and dance (lay down on the alcohol and/or smoking though). Challenge yourself to move a little more each and everyday. Before you know it you’ll be moving your body in new and consistent ways.