Host: Welcome to the Lifelong Wellness podcast, where we talk to wellness professionals from so many walks of life around the world and get their insights into living healthier. I’m your host, Wes Malik. Today's guest on the show is Judy Foreman, who’s an award-winning national syndicated health columnist. She’s the author of several books, A Nation in Pain, The Global Pain Crisis, and Exercise is Medicine, all published by Oxford University Press. She was a staff writer at the Boston Globe for over 23 years and a health columnist for many of those years. Amongst her many years spent in the field of medicine, she’s been a lecturer on medicine at Harvard Medical School, a fellow and medical ethics at Harvard Medical School and a Knight Science Journalism fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has won more than 50 journalism awards, including a 1998 George Foster Peabody Award for co-writing a video documentary about a young woman dying of breast cancer, and the 2015 Science in Society Award from the National Association of Science Writers for her book, A Nation in Pain. Judy, welcome to the Lifelong Wellness podcast. How are you today?
Judy: I’m great. Thank you very much. How are you?
Host: Very good. I’m excited to speak to you because you’ve got a very long career in wellness and in health and your books talk about those topics as well. And because you’ve been writing about health and covering health for so long I wanted to ask you, how has the approach to well-being and life changed in people and in society since you started writing about it?
Judy: Well, I don’t think there is a connection between me writing about it and things changing, although I’m hoping that will start to be true. (laughing) But I think in the last, say, 25 years or so when the jogging boom kind of started, people have become more conscious of exercise, but not everybody. Some people are still very, very sedentary and overall the population, as you know, has gotten more and more obese. So, a bunch of people are really into exercise and another big bunch still don’t do nearly what they should.
Host: Do you think social media…
Judy: …which is terrible. (laughing)
Host: Yes, that’s true. That’s true. (laughing) Do you think social media and, you know, Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest, where people are sharing their videos of working out and jogging and, you know, doing yoga and stuff, inspire other people to adopt a better, healthy lifestyle?
Judy: I hope so. I surely noticed with this pandemic that there’s a lot of exercise regimens that people are doing with Zoom; Zoom ballet classes and Zoom yoga and Zoom weightlifting and all that stuff. So, the people who are already dedicated are surely finding ways to use social media to keep it up. Those who weren’t dedicated to start with, I don’t think they’re suddenly doing it on Zoom, unfortunately. It would be good if they did. (laughing)
Host: Now, what does living a healthy life, or wellness actually mean to you on a personal level?
Judy: On a personal level, it means to me that exercise is not negotiable. It’s a default pathway. It’s something that you do every day, no matter what. And it takes a big boulder falling in your path to make you not do it. In other words, it’s not negotiable. Many people say, ‘I’ll exercise if I have time', or ‘if I’m in the mood', or ‘if the weather is nice', or ‘if someone else is looking after the kids'. Exercise is a given. You have to aim for every day, but you’ll probably get 5 or 6 days. But, it really shouldn’t be negotiable. It’s essential. So, it’s something that you can’t talk yourself out of.
Host: For you, it’s the primary objective or the primary thing in your life, and that should be one of the main focuses of your life.
Judy: Yes. I wouldn’t put it ahead of my husband. (laughing) Not necessarily, or eating, but it’s right up there. It’s right up there.
Judy: It has to be something you really do every day or aim to do every day and probably succeed in doing it 5 out of 7 days.
Host: And usually a lot of people, myself included, keep it as a secondary thing that, “Oh, you know what? We’ll get to it as my work is done”. You know, when I’m done with my family, when I’ve, you know, done with my hobbies or entertainment or whatever if I’ve got time leftover. Maybe I’ll think about, maybe going for a walk or going out for a bike ride for something.
Judy: Yes. (laughing) And how often does that actually result in you doing it? Zero. That’s the problem. (laughing)
Host: Very little, very little. People must share their stories of success and failure with you all the time.
Judy: Yes. You know, I’ve done a number of podcasts, including call-in shows, and I’m amazed how some people are so good at doing it and really exercising 2-3 hours a day. I mean, that’s not me. I do like my hour or half an hour. And at some point, if you want to talk about High-Intensity Training that you can do very quickly, we can certainly talk about that. It doesn’t need to take an hour out of your life every day. But most of the people who responded, those are who are already doing it. I have to say, I feel like I’m preaching to a choir but I’m trying to preach to the whole congregation. (laughing)
Host: Amongst those stories that you hear from people about their success and their failure regarding, you know, living healthy and exercise, what are the common things that lead those people to success? And what are the common things that lead people to failure when it comes to exercise?
Judy: Oh, boy. I think we’ll start with the first one – the things that helped people succeed at getting exercise done. I think one of the main things is, if you do it with somebody else. I mean, if you make a commitment to take a walk with somebody else at a specific time of day, you sort of do it because you don’t want to let the other person down. And of course, it helps both people, that works both ways. A lot of group exercise classes, if you belong to a gym that can help. Also, what helps a lot is if you have an exercise machine at home, like an exercise bike or a treadmill or something like that. If it’s right in your house, you can get on and watch the news while you’re pedaling away on your bike. I mean, you sort of have to remove as many obstacles as you can. In terms of what stops people, I think for some people, maybe especially women, they may not want to go outside dressed in workout clothes or go to the gym if they feel fat or they don’t look good in those clothes, you know, and that’s a shame. Although, it’s the culture that’s got more and more casual. People are wearing basically yoga pants everywhere. That should be less of an obstacle. Certainly people who have, you know, knee problems or foot problems have found it hard to exercise. Although there is certainly alternative exercise. I mean, if you can’t walk, you might be able to swim or you might be able to at least do some weightlifting that takes into account your injured body part. And obviously, people with heart problems or serious Diabetes should talk with their doctors first. But particularly with Diabetes, say, exercise can be… People can think of exercise as insulin. I mean, it’s actually good for you. So, I mean, then the whole title of my book is Exercise is Medicine and it’s truer than ever when I thought up the title. (laughing) It really is medicine and, you know, you should take it daily.
Host: That is your latest book which came out, which was printed published last year in 2019.
Judy: Well, actually it didn’t come out until January. They got delayed for a month.
Judy: So, it’s actually new. (laughing)
Host: It’s absolutely brand new. It’s a couple of months old.
Host: It’s available on Oxford University Press. Is it on Amazon as well?
Judy: It’s on Amazon and it’s also on my website: judyforeman.com.
Host: Okay. Now, when, if we want to talk about exercise for the next 30 minutes or so on the podcast, I need to start by asking you what does exercise…What is the definition of exercise for you? I mean, are we talking about something as simple as walking up the stairs or are we talking about, you know, going to the gym and lifting weights?
Judy: Well, I guess the word exercise encompasses all of those things. It can be walking, it can be running, it can be swimming, it can be lifting weights, it can be staying on your feet all day, running around the house, pushing the vacuum cleaner.
Judy: It’s moving, essentially.
Judy: It’s moving around. Ideally, you get your heart rate up to the point with moderate exercise which means basically you can talk while you’re doing it. You can talk and walk but you can’t sing. I mean, you’re breathing a little bit hard but not so hard you can’t hold a note for a long time. So, you want to get your heart rate going and there are charts on the website that say, depending on your age, how fast you should try to get your heart rate up. But, yes, you want to get your heart rate up – that’s for the aerobic stuff. But aerobic stuff and weightlifting are both important. I mean, you don’t necessarily need to get your heart rate up if you’re doing biceps curls. But that’s important, too, because strength really matters in terms of keeping, especially your legs and back, strong enough that you don’t fall. Because as people get older, falls are major problems and the reason many people go to nursing homes. So, strength counts, too.
Host: This is a topic that you’ve explored and written about as well as, you know, we move on into a higher age group. Exercise becomes more important. But before we get to that topic, I’m jumping the gun here, I’m jumping ahead of myself in terms of questions. You know, how important is exercise to us? And why is it important?
Judy: It’s important because it extends the healthspan. How many years of your life you spent healthy as opposed to falling apart? And also it extends the amount of time you live. In another words, it extends the number of years you live and how healthy those years are going to be. So, it does two things. And regular physical activity really can lower your risk of heart disease, and almost all causes of mortality – dying by anything by about 1/3, by about 33 to 35%. So, it has a huge effect. That’s better than a lot of pills that we take. You know, it has a demonstrable, very positive effect, including mental health issues, including warding off depression. Exercise is good, not just for physical health but for mental health as well. And if looking, being strong and looking buff doesn’t motivate you, keeping in a good mood might motivate you. (laughing)
Host: I think it has a very close association as well. Some people, you know, feel depressed if they’re not happy about the way they feel and the way they look in terms of, you know, shape and size. And, you know, exercise could be very positive for that kind of thinking.
Judy: But I have a thought to follow up on what we are just talking about. In terms of the brain, I mean we all think of our heart is kind of the most important organ in our body and obviously it is, but the brain is also. And exercise triggers a chemical that the brain itself makes and I don’t know how scientifically oriented your listeners are but it triggers a chemical called BDNF, which stands for Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor. Now, people call it ‘miracle grow' for the brain. And this chemical, BDNF, miracle grow gets turned on. Your brain produces more of this when you exercise.
Judy: And this has a great effect on cognition, on thinking, and is a preventive for Alzheimer’s. And also is very good for improving mood and treating depression. It actually makes new nerve cells grow and a part of the brain, called the hippocampus, and that turns out to be very important both for memory and for mood. So, that should be highly motivating to people. (laughing) It is to me.
Host: So, as we get on in our later years, in our 40's, 50's, 60's, does exercise become more important?
Judy: It’s always important. And, you know, it’s horrible that a lot of gyms and physical education tends not to be emphasized as much as they used to be in schools. And kids are spending a lot of time with their computers and their screens as opposed to running around outdoors. So, it’s important for kids, too. Especially for building bones, in adolescence, you know, need for the rest of your life. But you’re right that the older we get, the more important it is to not let the exercise go by the board. You know, if you are not feeling quite right or you have knee problems or some other problems, you tend to let it go but it is just as important. And I don’t know if this is what you’re getting at but it’s never too late to start, even if you’ve been a couch potato all your life. Starting at age 70, even at age 80 it has benefits. Not as much if you have been going all along, but it’s not too late to reap some of the benefits.
Host: Now, that was exactly my next question. Usually, when you don’t exercise and you think about exercising, some people think that it might be too late for them.
Judy: Actually, it’s not.
Host: Now, you wrote about this. How does exercise act like “wrinkle creams and medication and savs and herbal remedies”?
Judy: I didn’t put it exactly that way because I really don’t know anything about herbal medicine and creams and stuff, but exercise is good for your skin. That much we do know. Among other things, it increases this microcirculation in our faces. You get rosy cheeks and, you know, it sort of delays the aging of skin cells, like it delays aging the other parts of the body. So, it’s good. I haven’t done a direct comparison of these physical products to exercise, but it's certainly very good and much cheaper. (laughing)
Host: Also, you mentioned that the best defense against the ravages of time is exercise.
Host: And you touched upon that a little bit as well. Would you like to expand on that?
Judy: Yes. Basically, as the years go by, things start to go wrong and we sort of get more and more deteriorated in various organs and, you know, you just have to go to your high school or college reunion to see, to watch it happening. You don’t see it in your mirror, you see it on other people’s faces and bodies. But exercise and again, if you go to your high school or college reunion, you could probably pick out the people who exercise compared to the ones who don’t. They generally look better, they look thinner usually, they may look happier. I mean, it really begins to show up in your body and how you present yourself. So, I mean, my book is about a lot of the biochemicals that make this happen, but you can just see with your naked eye if you go to a party or reunion. You can see who’s really aging well and who isn’t and a lot of that has to do with exercise. And genes, genes are important, too.
Host: Oh, yes.
Judy: But exercise in particular.
Host: How do genes play a role in, you know, how your body develops and how exercise is relevant?
Judy: Well, you know, successful aging probably involves both, good genes and good exercise. Certainly, if people are born with diseased genes that, you know, you can’t avoid, like if you got juvenile Diabetes, you know, you’re kind of stuck with that. Although even with that, exercise is very important. In fact, one of my favorite stories in the book is about this guy who had juvenile Diabetes and went on to do Ironman triathlons.
Host: Oh, really?
Judy: And is teaching young kids not to be totally, you know, bummed out by their diabetes and to really work at exercise as well. So, even for people who are born with a kind of disadvantage, exercise can help. But basically, it’s a combination of both that helps us age well, but you can’t control your genes, but the point is you can control exercise. So, that’s the part you have, you can influence by your own behavior.
Host: I have been thinking about this. You’ve been writing about health for such a long time and your focus on exercise and we’re going to be talking about how beneficial exercise is. But, you know, is there any negative to exercise? Any minus points?
Judy: Well, if you’re out running and you trip over a branch and you break your leg yes, that’s…(laughing)
Host: That’s a negative, yes.
Judy: But that is just sort of bad luck. You know, essentially, no. There’s a lot of data on people who jog a lot or run a lot and they’re sort of, by at large, there’s no real negative. People who do marathons, there are some changes in their heart, the enzymes that their heart puts out, but those changes don’t seem to be particularly bad and may only be temporary. So, by at large, for most people the danger is not exercising. And, you know, just one little example in terms of the mental health and the cognition, if everybody who is currently, and the study actually came from Canada. If everyone who is currently inactive, not exercising, suddenly started exercising, and doing it regularly, we can eliminate 1 in every 7 cases of Alzheimer’s. So, it’s huge, has a huge potential public health effect. It’s almost like, you know, we’re all stuck in the Coronavirus thing now but we’re seeing sort of unintended consequences like the air quality getting better all over the world.
Judy: You know, this has a huge global effect. If everyone who is now just sitting around, started exercising we would have much less obesity, much less Diabetes, people would be living longer and healthier, which would ultimately cost the healthcare system less. So, we’d have huge benefits on the population.
Host: I think more important than ever, it’s important to work on our immune systems and that means eating healthy, getting rid of bad habits. If you’re a smoker, that’s something that you should stop doing immediately for obvious reasons and of course during this pandemic as well. And, you know, work with exercise and better nutrition to have a better immune system. Even in case you’re exposed to COVID-19, you have a much better chance of beating it.
Judy: Yes, and one of the main things that exercise does in terms of the immune system is it controls inflammation. And we usually think of inflammation if you cut your finger, it gets all red and swollen and that’s inflammation, but that’s kind of acute, temporary short-term.
Judy: What happens if you don’t exercise, is this chronic low-grade inflammation in your whole body, and that is the underlying cause for Diabetes, for hardening of the arteries, for heart disease, a lot of things. And exercise, one of the main effects that exercise has on the immune system is that it dampens down this chronic inflammation. So, it’s an invisible thing. It’s not like how you can see a swollen finger, but it is going on in your whole body and exercise has a huge effect on that.
Host: So, let me ask you a question. If I’ve ravished my body with Doritos and Coca-Cola for the last thirty-odd years, can I repair my body with exercise? Will it get better or will it just stay the same where it was?
Judy: Well, you’re sure talking about exercise and diet, and if you’re eating Doritos and Coke and God knows what else.
Host: Junk foods.
Judy: Once in a while is fine. If you have a terrible diet, you should fix that, too, but definitely you should fix exercise. In fact, I have a talk that goes with this book and I gave it to two women, one of whom was an endocrinologist and the other of whom is a nutritionist. And they both, you know, they really talk about nutrition and how to have a healthy diet and then one of them turns to me and said, “But the thing that matters the most is exercise. Even more than a healthy diet.” Now, that’s a sample of one. So, I’m not sure all nutritionists would agree with that, but it’s something that you can do. That’s the thing, it’s something that’s under your control, as is your diet. (laughing)
Host: How does one motivate themselves to start exercising?
Judy: That’s, I mean, we touch on that a little bit in the beginning by saying, you know, you can go with the buddy, go with the friend. But, you know, how much does information change people’s behavior? I mean, we're certainly seeing with this pandemic that fear is a good motivator.
Judy: And staying inside, putting on a mask, then wearing gloves. By at large, people have gotten that message and I’ve been doing it and it’s been hard. I wish there was a similar public health campaign about exercise, but it’s very hard to get people to change their behavior. I’m amazed at how well we’ve done with the pandemic, but when you think about them all… How many years did it take for people to stop smoking?
Judy: You know, you can be rational and tell people this is really bad for your lungs, it causes lung cancer. But if you have tobacco companies advertising it, people will go with the sort of easy course. It’s really hard to change information with rational messages because I think we’re largely irrational, emotional beings. And information, you could tell me what’s good for me and getting me to do it is a whole different ball game, which is why you have to make a little bit pleasurable. You know, listen to music while you’re doing it or go with a friend. Those things really help. Also, looking good. I mean, you know, you may not sort of responding to all of the health messages of exercise but if you think you can reduce your dress size by 1 or 2 categories or you’ll look better, vanity may be a better motivator than health. (laughing)
Host: That’s certainly a very effective motivator. That’s certainly very effective. Now, you’ve also studied and written about a relatively new field of GeroScience?
Judy: That means the science of aging. Well, aging, you know, we all think we know what it means and we don’t like it, but it’s actually very interesting from a biological point of view. In fact, some creatures like sea urchins and others don’t even seem to age at all, which means they have the same risk of death, point A to point Z.
Judy: Yes. It’s very interesting and a lot of different things happen. By a lot, in a very deep cellular and molecular level with aging. In fact, a group of European scientists in 2013 came out with a very important kind of blockbuster paper talking about the, I think, it’s the 11 major hallmarks of aging. And it really nailed down exactly what happens with aging. And it turns out that exercise can influence all of these hallmarks in a good direction. So that’s, you know, your listeners may or might not be interested in that level of the science but the science does underlie, you know, and this is about science. I mean, basically, when you think about it we did not evolve by sitting in front of TVs or computer screens. We evolved as hunter-gatherers and, you know, we run around and we garden all day. Moving is the natural human state. Sitting is not so much. Sitting for 8 hours a day, you know, our ancestors didn’t do that. They ran around or walked around or worked outside.
Host: Okay, the sitting is a very interesting topic that I really wanted to talk to you about because before I read your biography and before I took a look at some excerpts from your books, I was reading about, you know, changing how you work. And I was looking into standing desks and standing situations. There are several studios I’ve seen which have moved to standing studios. My studio is a sit-down studio. For example, the BBC now has, you know, raised desks with, you know, raised microphones coming in from the ceiling and everything. And all their presenters and podcasters or broadcasters now stand around a round table. And I was seriously thinking of doing that for my studio as well because of some studies I’ve read about having a sedentary lifestyle, being very degrading for the body and just standing up. But I was trying to get more research into it and I could not find a lot about that research. There are two areas I saw and they both vary on the benefits. Some people said that it’s not that beneficial, some people said that it did had some certain benefits to it in terms of the cardiovascular system, in terms of Diabetes, in terms of other things as well. But one point, in general, was that you don’t lose too many calories by just standing around all day. Now, that’s a long question. (laughing) I would like to get your insights into sitting down at work and sitting down all day and then, you know, moving to a standing culture.
Judy: That’s a good question. I mean, the book came out this January and I did most of the research in the preceding years before that. So, like you, I didn’t find that many studies on the benefits of standing desks. They were really studies as opposed to advertisements. And from the data I got and it wasn’t that much, I didn’t see a big benefit but it makes total logical sense. I don’t have a stand-up desk because I have my papers spread out so much but what you can do that has been shown in studies is get up every hour or so or even every half an hour, or do little tricks like put your printer further away so you have to get up and go get it or get up and, you know, get a new cup of coffee or something else to eat. Try to get up every half an hour for a couple of minutes. That does help. I find it hard to do. If I set my Fitbit or my alarm to say something “Get up” or “Stand. You haven’t stood up in a while”. That helps but you can get very absorbed in what you’re doing and forget to stand up. (laughing)
Host: Is sitting just a little bit bad for us or is it really, really, really bad for us?
Judy: It’s really, really, really bad. I have a whole chapter called “Sitting Kills”.
Judy: I mean, among other things we get fat as we’ve all notice and it turns out a lot of people don’t know this but we used to think of fat as just sort of an inert blab of tissue. It’s actually a very active metabolic organ. It pumps out chemicals that cause inflammation and we talked about inflammation earlier and how bad it is for you. Fat tissue pumps out these pro-inflammatory molecules…
Host: I see.
Judy: …that trigger inflammation, keep it going all over the body.
Host: So, it’s not just stored energy that just stays, you know, dormant until we need it. It actually does stuff while it’s there.
Judy: Yes. These chemicals, they’re called proinflammatory cytokines. They trigger inflammation. So, sitting directly leads to the accumulation of fat and with that which leads to these pro-inflammatory cytokines, like you making me want to get up right now. (laughing)
Host: I have the same urge to get up as well but then I’ll be out of the frame of the video.
Judy: I know. (laughing)
Host: You’ll just be able to see my belt or something. Now, would you suggest that I…Okay? So, I have been seriously thinking about this before our conversation. This was about two weeks ago. Currently and I was thinking of making the switch over this weekend on Sunday, before the working day on Monday to a standing desk. Do you think that would be beneficial to me?
Judy: I can’t cite a study but my answer is yes. I mean, how can that hurt? Except financially. (laughing) I don’t know how much it would cost, but yes. Standing is better than sitting, walking is better than standing, but yes. I think you might get tired the first few days but I think…
Host: I was afraid to ask that. Yes, I thought it was a very childish thought to myself and I’m trying to repress that.
Judy: No, I don’t think so.
Host: Because if I stand all day, I would get tired.
Judy: And I know that there is also desk…Sorry, were you talking?
Host: Yes. I was saying, would I get tired just standing around all day? Would I be able to do it?
Judy: Oh, there’s only one way to find out. (laughing) But there are desks that go up and down.
Judy: So, I think you can get something that you can vary the height of and that would be good. And also, you know, walking around kind of makes you less tired from standing.
Judy: I think standing in some ways is more tiring than walking for some reason, I’m not sure why. I mean, that’s not something I speak from research on but just subjectively standing, like I get more tired in a museum than going out for a run. (laughing) But I think you can sort of find ways to finesse that and your listeners may have some suggestions as well.
Host: Absolutely. When it comes to exercise, what is the most beneficial exercise in your opinion? And what are the exercises that you think people should start off with or have the most impact on our health?
Judy: The experts say, “The best exercise is the one you will get yourself to do”, which gets back to the motivation question. I mean, most research has been done on walking and jogging and running. Less has been done on swimming or biking, although, quite a bit on biking. You know, but if you hate to swim I can’t tell you that swimming is the best because you won’t do it.
Judy: But most people can walk. So, walking is really pretty accessible to a lot of people. Aerobic is really…Getting your heart rate up is really a key. You don’t have to go so hard that you’re, you know, panting like crazy but just getting your heart rate up to a reasonable degree. And again, you can look online or in my book for what you should do depending on your age. But I think there’s nothing like aerobic exercise for real because it’s so good for your heart and your heart is obviously the reason exercise has such a big effect on the overall life span is because it has such a big effect on the heart. Heart disease is the biggest killer and if you can influence the biggest killer in the right direction then, you know, you’re really on to something. So, aerobic exercise is really, you can’t beat that.
Host: I’d like to start exercising and I have a choice to make. And the choice I have is that I can exercise very hard for a short period of time or I can exercise moderately but for a longer period of time. Like for example, I can go at it very, very hard until I’m exhausted for about 15 minutes and that’s my personal capacity, 15 to 20 minutes. But I can do moderate exercise, maybe to 30 or 40 minutes. Which one is better?
Judy: I think we’re just sort of talking about is what they call HIIT, which is High-intensity Interval Training. That’s not going to your max for 15 minutes though. That’s going to your max for 30 seconds or a minute.
Judy: And then going slower for 30 seconds or a minute then toggling back and forth for 10 minutes to 20 minutes or half an hour.
Host: For different exercise, yes.
Judy: That has been shown to be extremely effective, not just for health but also as you use your time.
Judy: If you’re busy, as most people are, you can get a lot of benefits in 10 minutes of high-intensity training which is enduring it back and forth. So, you don’t spend an hour of jogging or an hour of walking fast. But you have to go quite fast for the high-intensity part, which is kind of a turn off for a lot of people. So, if you enjoy walking at a moderate pace for an hour and you hate the interval training, you know, do the thing you enjoy because you won’t do the other one, you know. (laughing)
Host: You’ve been giving health advice through your call and radio show at healthtalk.com, through your…
Judy: Actually, that was something I did a number of years ago and I ’m not doing that anymore.
Host: Okay, number of years ago. And you’ve also written a column, you’ve got 3 books out, one this year, last year, this year, which is available on your website and available on Oxford University Press.
Judy: And Amazon.
Host: And Amazon as well. And no doubt you’ve been giving a lot of advice to people over so many years. But still, if there’s one summation or a one piece of advice you’d like to give for people aspiring to live healthier, what would that be?
Judy: Start and keep going. Just start. (laughing) And you know, you can start slow. You know, you can go for a walk and walk from one telephone pole to the next.
Judy: And then think, “Okay, I did that. Maybe I’ll go slowly to the next telephone pole” and then a little faster between the next two poles. You know, you can’t go to get off the couch after 10 years on the couch and suddenly run a marathon. You know you can build up to it so you don’t hate it, you know, and give yourself a lot of positive feedback. You know, if you get nothing else done on that particular day but you got yourself to take a 20-minute or half an hour walk, you can pat yourself on the back. In fact, just for your listeners, the minimum sort of recommendations from the government are 150 minutes of moderate activity a week and that ends up being 30 minutes a day for 5 days. The next moderate that means you’re not killing yourself, you’re walking at a moderate pace so you can talk but you can’t sing. So, that’s pretty doable. That’s pretty doable for most people.
Host: It is.
Judy: And it doesn’t have to be walking, it can be swimming, it can be cycling, it can be, you know, moving around. It’s the sitting, as we’re doing right now, that’s really bad. (laughing)
Host: Judy Foreman, thank you so much for being on the Lifelong Wellness podcast today.
Judy: You’re very, very welcome. I enjoy it. Thank you.