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The best exercise program: lifestyle actions: walking, climbing, and swimming

Updated on May 23, 2011
Dr. Haddox profile image

Degrees: 1) Oakland U., 2) Michigan State U (College of Human Medicine), 3) George Washington U. (Medicine), Vanderbilt U. (Divinity School)

The best exercise: walking on rugged tarrain

The best exercise program: lifestye actions

My absolute favorite movie of all times is "Last of the Mahicans." Actually, the movie is based on a narrative, a historical novel actually, by the writer, James Fenimore Cooper, that was first published in February 1826. It is said that the actual writing was completed in 1757.

I mention this movie because there is an opening scene where these Mahicans (a couple of them) were running through through the woods. They were running deep into the forest with their long rifles in hands for what seemed like 10 minutes or so. It was not a jogging like run, but faster, what appeared to be a "sprint" for most of us runners. After about 10 minutes or so, the two Indians (Native Americans to be more correct), stopped running and the one of them lifted his rifle up, took aim, fired a shot and a deer dropped dead at a distance that appeared to be about 100 yards ahead of them. They had run for miles to tire this animal out before slaughtering it. After the slaughter, they walked up to the deer, took a moment to pray, or to thank the Master of Nature and the Universe, for the gift of food to eat, and for the skin that would be made into clothes, and for the bones that would go to make tools, weapons, etc.

What does this have to do with exercise, you may ask? I say, everything. These Mahicans were in excellent health, that is excellent condition, because their life styles resulted in excellent condition. Everywhere they went they walked or ran (they ran only when they had to). Walking conserves energy that is required for other work. When one had to go on a long trip, or any trip, for that matter, one walked. Since the country side where they lived was a rolling terrain, a rugged and hostile environment. One had to be in shape, and had to live in a high live of physical condition to survive. Not only did on have to be in great physical condition, but one's mine had to be sharp, with a capacity to think quickly and make good decisions, rapidly. Think about it, if one is running through the woods chasing an animal that will supply food for several families, if one can successfully "drop" the animal, one has to be in good physical condition but one has to be able to think quickly. As a child, growing up on the farm in rural Tennessee, I have run into a tree more that once because my reaction time was to slow or I was not alert (my mind was not sharp enough or I was not focused).

I am not saying that I expect for you to be in the conditions that these Mahicans were in. Most people will never reach that level of condition. What I am saying is, we can be in a higher level of condition if we adapt a lifestyle that will enable us to walk more, and, if we are able to run, to run on occasion. Some of us should not run. Running is a dangerous thing to do, especially as we grow older. One can spring one's ankle, even fracture it, while hiking on uneven ground. One can fall when one is walking, or climbing stairs, or coming down stairs, and sustain sprangs, fractures, bruises, lacerations, or other injuries, at all levels of the body, from skull, neck, collar bone, back, hips, legs, knees, ankles, or feet. I am saying this to say, the risk of injury only increases once we are on the run.

Swimming is a great way to stay in shape if one has access to a pool, ocean beach, or lake. Be careful, however. Water is dangerous, swimming alone is dangerous, and diving can be really dangerous.

Lifestyle changes that include walking mostly is what I would suggest for people my age or older. I am not a young person anymore. Walking is good for everyone, of all ages. We need to do more of it.


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    • profile image

      Roby 3 years ago

      How to Convince my parents to let me buy a uyncicle?I really want to learn how to uyncicle this summer! It seems really fun and I just want to try it out. I need a way of getting around, exercise and plus, it's portable and in my budget because i'll pay for it myself My parents say it's too dangerous yet i'll wear all the equipment I'd need(helmet, etc.) How do i convince them to let me buy one? My parents just say it's dangerous and it's for people who want to join the circus which i think is complete nonsense Please help guys!

    • Dr. Haddox profile image

      Dr Freddie Haddox 3 years ago from a Franklin, Tennessee native, who travels globally.

      Very good write-up and useful advice, Lacrim. Have a great New Year's Day.

    • profile image

      Lacrim 3 years ago

      Conventional exercise bikes seem to be hoirdrly uncomfortable, for the most part. If you can get a spinner type, then you can put a decent saddle on it. The monster seats in heath clubs are the pits for heat build up and comfort IMHO. If you are looking for something electronic or from a sporting goods store, odds are a recumbent will be more comfortable. Don't forget to check out Ebay or Play It Again Sports. These things depreciate pretty violently. You may be able to get a better unit (more durable) used for about the same as a crappy one new. Good luck.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      I totally agree with you, walking is fantastic exercise, just walk a little faster and get the old heart working. Good hub.