Walk, Walk, Walk, says Naturopathic Doctor for Better Mental and Physical Health

What is the best way to stay healthy? It’s exercise! Moving is the best option for fitness and better overall physical and mental health . Even for the time challenged, you still have a most powerful weapon to improve your health with walking.

This still could be your healthiest and most inspirational winter season yet. Now before you start thinking of an excuse, like it’s too complicated, too time-consuming and costly, or takes too much time, small changes make a big difference. What I would say to that is: start walking. Walking is a wonderful solution. There’s no cost and you can walk anywhere:

  1. Walk inside your home or office, while you simultaneously take care of other business.
  2. Walk to do errands, opting to park your car in the furthest spot from your destination
  3. Ask your partner to drop you off a mile from your home, so you can walk the rest of the way

Lifetime of Running Transitions to Walking

Staying Fit Now and After the Holidays, with Dennis Godby, ND

These are all simple ways to add steps to your otherwise more sedentary routine. I too used to think that exercise meant extreme or nothing. Here is my story.

My personal exercise journey started as a runner, not a walker. The phrase “long distance running” took on a whole new meaning for me. It didn’t mean 26.2 mile marathons, I ran a 1,420 mile solo run to Canada, and 3,000 miles across the USA, twice no less!

But one evening during my commute – a run home from my naturopathic medical practice – I felt pain pulsing through my knee. Sadly, I tore my left meniscus. I was naturally deflated and very disappointed. I worked toward a relentlessly positive attitude, followed by strong determination and a lot of physical therapy. In the end, I embraced a new exercise routine focused on walking. And lots of it.

I have spent my life and medical career encouraging others to develop an exercise routine. Throughout our life we need to adapt to circumstances and practice both resiliency, determination and grace in order to stay healthy. And, as COVID has taught us, a positive attitude is essential. In my case, I decided to “light a candle” and walk, rather than “curse the darkness” and complain about my running injury.

So how much walking is enough? You’ve no doubt hear of the goal of taking 10,000 steps a day. A recent study in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) found that, compared with taking 4,000 steps per day, taking 8,000 steps per day was associated with a whopping 51% lower risk for all-cause mortality. Taking 12,000 steps per day was associated with a 65% lower risk compared with taking 4,000 steps.

Now, at every opportunity, I walk. Typically, my job as a primary care naturopathic doctor entails a lot of sitting. You may have heard the saying, “sitting is the new smoking,” which is based on research that shows sitting all day, even if exercising vigorously before or after work, is still a significant risk factor for early death.

I can’t always get outside. So, I walk in my 10×10 office while answering emails, talking on the phone, watching the news, listening to virtual medical conferences, texting, and even reading a book or posting on social media.

Even with a knee injury, I’ve been able to average twice as many steps per day as I did when I was running with a healthy knee. To double the distance from walking to running, I must now quadruple the amount of time walking. My 2020 average is close to 17,000 steps per day. Not bad for a guy who gave up running because of a bum knee.  

While in the past, running in the past scenic areas been a huge part of my life. The endorphins were a huge part of my life, Today, swimming in beautiful lakes and feeling the rush of walking has become my go-to pleasurable activity. I have grown to appreciate its simplicity, practicality and immediacy.

Staying Fit Now and After the Holidays

To accommodate my new routine into my daily schedule, I have honed my multi-tasking skills. I couldn’t to this without two important items to keep track of my daily walking habit: 1. a smart-phone with heart app that records steps walked (a simple pedometer will do) and, 2. a handy phone charger. Recording steps throughout the day, on whatever device, helps keep me motivated.

So, this holiday season, between wrapping gifts, baking healthy muffins, or spending time with family, keep walking around the neighborhood, in the snow, through the commercials on a holiday movie, or in your own home or office setting.

I am living proof that exercise can be done anywhere. With fluctuating Covid-19 restrictions closing gyms and recreation centers, walking at home, at the office, or in public places (with masks please) is an easy solution. You’ll be modeling your brain for a positive attitude and your dedication for health is one of the best gifts of all. By focusing on staying fit now and after the holidays, you could change your health for the better, forever. You can even give the gift others by walking together outside (physically distancing) or even inviting others to a Zoom walk. Giving others the gift of health is the best gift of all.

For more on how the radical life changing effects of exercise, see this webinar by Michelle Simon, ND and Mark Heisig, ND. Learn how to practically incorporate movement into your day.

Dr. Dennis Godby, is a license naturopathic doctor, at Sutter Medical Foundation. He may be reached SAC-ND.com , Facebook or at his Sacramento Office, 916. 446-2591.

INM's team is made up of naturopathic doctors and health journalists.

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Deb Hubers

Debra Hubers is a serial entrepreneur and has started seven businesses; ranging from an advanced genomics to an employer health care purchasing cooperative. Deb has over 35 years of experience in healthcare finance, education, technology, and pharmacogenomics.

Ms. Hubers has dedicated her career to measuring and improving healthcare outcomes. Her expertise is leveraging technology to deliver personalized, preventative medicine. Ms. Hubers co-founded La Vita Compounding Pharmacy in 2007. Collaborating with her business partner, physicians and strategic partners, Deb has grown La Vita to be one of the most respected and sought-after personalized medicine providers on the west coast. She is also Co-Founder of EpigeneticsRx, a leading provider of precise, personalized, prevention which positively impacts genetic expression.

Alex Keller, ND

Dr. Alex Keller, ND, AFMCP is a graduate of the University of Ottawa with an Honours Bachelor in Health Sciences and Psychology. Although originally intending to attend conventional medical school, following a three-month volunteer internship at a rural Kenyan hospital where he observed how doctors used local food to treat patients, he shifted his career goals and pursued a degree in naturopathic medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.

After one year of practicing with the esteemed Dr. Chris Pickrell, ND, RH in a community acupuncture setting, in 2015 he and his wife Dr. Jenn Keller, ND moved to rural Ottawa, Canada where they started an organic farm and retreat center. In the same year, Alex and his athletic therapist sister Jess Keller combined their practices to form Keller Active Health, an integrative physical therapy clinic.

Ever curious and passionate about the education of evidence-based natural medicine, in 2017, Dr. Keller joined a fledgling Ottawa-based health tech startup named Fullscript. He serves as its Medical Director and oversees the development of medical education content for practitioners across North America.

Prior to medicine, Alex worked in the renewable energy sector, where he developed a deep passion for sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship. This connection between medicine and agriculture now drives Alex to focus much of his energy on bringing awareness to the quality and sourcing standards in the supplement and organic agriculture supply chains.

Today, he splits his professional time practicing as a clinician, working for Fullscript, and expanding the farming operation while chasing his kids with Jenn and occasionally running ultra-marathon trail races. He is also currently completing an Executive MBA through the Quantic School of Business & Technology with a focus on supply chain innovation.

Pamela Snider, ND

Pamela Snider, ND, is Executive and Senior Editor for the Foundations of Naturopathic Medicine Project, producing a first of its kind international textbook of Naturopathic medicine through a series of international retreats and symposia. A nationally recognized integrative health and policy leader, she is active in both national and regional integrative health initiatives. Dr. Snider serves on the Board of Directors, was founding Executive Director and co-founder of the Academic Consortium for Integrative Health (ACIH/ACCAHCa consortium of the councils of schools, accrediting agencies and certifying bodies of the licensed, traditional and emerging integrative health professions, and is currently Vice Chair and co-founder of the Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC).  Dr. Snider served as a founding Board Member of the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine from 2014-2016. Her public policy work includes completing a two year appointment to the DHHS Center For Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee (MCAC); serving as a Steering Committee Member for  the HRSA funded American College of Preventive Medicine NCCIM Integrative Medicine in Preventive Medicine Residency program, co-directing in USPHS Region X the Building Bridges Between Provider Communities Group, an exploration of interdisciplinary collaboration and common ground between public health and CAM; serving for 22 years on Washington State’s Health Professional Loan Repayment and Scholarship Program Advisory Committee (HPLRSP); providing technical assistance to and developing key language for the enabling legislation for NIH Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCIH/NCCAM); and staffing Joseph Pizzorno ND during his appointment as Commissioner on the White House Commission on CAM Policy.

From 1994-2003, Dr. Snider served as Associate Dean for Public and Professional Affairs and Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University, dividing her work between academic and public affairs activities, including chairing the Naturopathic Medicine Program Curriculum Review Committee.  Dr. Snider has been teaching, publishing and lecturing widely on Naturopathic philosophy, theory integrative health, public policy, and other topics for over 30 years. Currently, an Associate Professor at National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) in Portland, OR, Dr. Snider also continues at Bastyr University in her 22nd year as a faculty member teaching naturopathic medicine history, clinical theory, and global context. Among her Naturopathic medicine professional roles she serves on the Institute for Natural Medicine’s Leadership Council.  In 1989, she co-led the naturopathic profession with Dr. Jared Zeff, in developing a unifying definition of naturopathic medicine and its principles of practice adopted unanimously by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) House of Delegates. She was a co-investigator in the 2004 NIH NCCAM research study, the North American Naturopathic Medical Research Agenda and CAM Advisor in NIHCCAM’s Financing Integrative Health Care (University of Washington).  Her areas of experience include healthcare education; naturopathic and interdisciplinary clinical theory, curriculum development; clinical practice; government and legislative affairs, public policy, interdisciplinary collaboration, and community organizing.  Dr. Snider has received the Ontario Naturopathic Physician of the Year Award, the Physician of the Year Award from the AANP, the President’s Outstanding Vision Award and Distinguished Alumnus Award at Bastyr University, AANP’s President’s Award, an honorary Doctorate of Naturopathic Philosophy from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM), the William A Mitchell Vis Award from the AANP and The Gathering – NMSA’s Beacon Award. She received her ND degree in 1982 from Bastyr University of Natural Health Sciences and is a licensed naturopathic physician in the State of Washington. She lives with her husband and children at their homestead in North Bend Washington, in the beautiful mountain to sea landscape and home of The Revival – Restore the Vis, an annual student-led community gathering.

Susan Haeger

Susan Haeger is Founder/Principal of Transformative Health Solutions Inc. She has applied her twenty plus years in executive leadership to help shape and drive adoption of progressive health policy for whole person healthcare. She was a section contributor to the 2021 INM/AANP published professional white paper, Naturopathic Physicians as Whole Health Specialists: The Future is Whole Person Health Care that provides supporting evidence for the profession’s significant and unique contributions to preventive, whole person care and models of integrative clinical practice.

Bruce Barlean

Bruce Barlean is an owner and founder of Barlean’s, a global dietary supplement manufacturer located in the Pacific Northwest in Ferndale, WA. Bruce has been actively involved in the Natural Products industry since 1989 and is passionate about making a difference in the world and positively impacting the lives of others.

Bruce believes that people can make a difference in the world through ordinary purchases. He is committed to improving the quality of life for every person on the planet by making the best products and by using the profits to support outreach programs. Bruce summarizes it simply, “We make good stuff to do good stuff”.

In the late 1980’s Bruce became passionate about how health could be dramatically improved with Flax Oil Supplementation. Bruce along with his entrepreneurial parents saw the potential to improve the lives of many people and in 1989 they began selling Flax Oil under the Barlean’s name. From 1989 – 2000 the business grew an average of 40% year over year. While most companies saw a decline in business in the 2001 recession, Barlean’s continued to grow and soon became America’s #1 selling flaxseed oil and continues to be to the present. The brand has since expanded to include additional oils, green food concentrates and other premium supplements. Bruce continues to drive innovation and over the years his products and company have won countless awards including: Eight consecutive Vity Awards for #1 EFA, Six consecutive Vity Awards for #1 Greens Food Supplement, Natural Choice Award for Best Specialty Supplement, Best Product of the Year, Best New Product, Gold Medal Taster’s Choice Award, Gold Medal American Masters of Taste Award, #1 Health Food Store Brand for Consumer Satisfaction by Consumer Lab, and Manufacturer of the Year.

In 2013 as the company was on the eve of celebrating the 25th year in business Bruce and his parents decided to take their desire to help people to a new level that they call Pathway to a Better Life – which is now seen in the Barlean’s logo. Bruce and his parents had always been generous in their giving and support of charities, but as part of the Pathway to a Better Life they decided to increased partnership with charitable organizations such as: Vitamin Angels, Compassion International, KidsTown International, Autism Hope Alliance, Engedi Refuge, Project 92, and others. And because so many people are unable to meet basic nutritional needs, Bruce created a comprehensive Omega-3 and multivitamin formula that he distributes free-of-charge to local food banks. In addition, Bruce decided the company would supply food banks with organic coconut oil to provide people with a health alternative to standard cooking oils.

Always generous with his time Bruce has served as a youth leader for his local church for several years and continues to mentor youth. He has been on several not for profit boards including; Whatcom County Pregnancy Center (2003-2006), Natural Products Association (dates?), and the Institute for Natural Medicine Leadership Council (presently).

The Barlean family have been avid supporters of Bastyr University since the 1990’s and in 2013 were given Bastyr’s most prestigious honor, the Mission Award, which recognizes their leadership over time in improving the health and well-being of the human community.

Bruce currently resides in Ferndale, WA with his wife Lisa and their two dogs: Heinz & Shadow. When he’s not helping others he can be found fishing (catch & release).

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Michelle Simon

Michelle Simon, PHD, ND

President & CEO

As president and CEO of INM, Dr. Simon brings her passion for working with organizations dedicated to improving the quality and delivery of healthcare. This desire stems from her years of practice as a licensed naturopathic physician. In addition to holding a Naturopathic Doctorate from Bastyr University she also holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She has served on boards for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), the Naturopathic Physicians Research Institute (NPRI), and several advisory boards. Dr. Simon served nine years on the Washington State Health Technology Clinical Committee, as Ambassador to the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) and was recognized as 2018 AANP Physician of the Year. Dr. Simon shares with her husband a passion for adventure travel, preferably by boat or motorcycle. She also enjoys teaching a women’s off-road motorcycling class.