I prefer the term movement to exercise, for two reasons. Firstly, exercise can often invoke a image of a gym or hard physical exercise and can be off putting for some people before they even begin. Movement can be as simple as walking, and indeed walking is enough. If you enjoy jogging, running, sports, going to the gym etc that’s great and enjoy it, but walking is enough. Do not feel you have to do more. Secondly, movement also includes breathing, which apart from the obvious, also has another important role.
Walking, as well as running, sports etc, has noted benefits, such as weight loss, eases joint pain (by strengthening muscles & increasing fluid for lubrication), boosts immune function, and even reduces the risk of breast cancer according to one Harvard study, strengthens your heart, prevents dementia, boost energy levels, and makes you happy by releasing endorphins, whilst reducing stress and anxiety.
My second point was breathing. Obviously we would soon cease to be if we stopped breathing, but this is an involuntary action that will continue to happen with or without our attention. However, in the same way that walking will be more beneficial to our health than occasionally getting up from the sofa to make a cup of tea, breathing correctly and efficiently is much better than continued shallow breathing.
Breathing massages your internal organs. As we breathe deeply the gentle up and down motion of the large structure that is your diaphragm, and other interconnected tissues massages the internal organs, stimulating the movement of fluids and aiding good organ conditioning.
This, with physical movement, pumps lymph around the body. The lymphatic system does not have a pump so requires bodily movement of muscles and tissues to move the lymph. The lymphatic system plays an important role in fighting infection and producing disease fighting white blood cells. Lymph also absorbs fats and fat soluble vitamins from the digestive system and delivers them to the cells.
The lymphatic system further aids the immune system by removing and destroying waste and debris, pathogens, toxins, dead blood cells and cancer cells.
So, breathing well is incredibly important, and is why meditation is considered so beneficial. Other than its relaxing and stress reducing effects, deep breathing makes the most of the diaphragm and has a huge benefit to our lymphatic system and overall health.
Enjoy your daily walk!