If life is truly a journey with heaven our destination, most folks don’t want to arrive too early. With that in mind, The Messenger went to see what family medicine practitioner, Dr. Jeff Ripperda, said about walking and exercise.
“Fantastic,” Ripperda said. “It’s easy, and all you need is a good pair of shoes.”
Ripperda shared his views while he sat outside St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Murphysboro looking at the Labyrinth of Inspiration,” dedicated to the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. An inscription reads, in part: “This labyrinth is a symbol of a ministry that began long ago and is a testament to the sisters’ spirit of providing care and treatment to so many.”
According to one internet source: “A labyrinth is a path which leads, via a circuitous route, to the center of an intricate design and back out again. A labyrinth’s route is unicursal; that is, it has only a single path. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth is designed for ease of navigation, and it is impossible to get lost within one.”
It can be used in many ways, to meditate on something presently going on in life or to return to an earlier time to think about the paths you have walked that brought you to this place in life.
When Ripperda brings his children to his office, he said, they love to walk the labyrinth.
Walking is a kind of exercise that someone like a hip doctor usually prescribes to people with a variety of conditions like arthritis and to prevent conditions like bursitis or tendonitis. Additionally, walking can also help patients with depression, as well as lower blood pressure and blood sugar. Besides these, walking can also increase your heart rate, strengthen your heart, and improve your blood circulation. This means that you can prevent cardiovascular diseases and frequent visits to cardiologists by walking around a little every day.
“In America, we just don’t walk enough,” Ripperda said, pointing to a need to walk 10,000 steps per day.
Those who walk only 3,000, he said, he considers sedentary.
For example, Ripperda said he engages in exercise every day, varying it from strength building, to cardio, to the always popular yoga.
Additionally, he watches what he eats. “I grew up eating an unhealthy diet,” he said, noticing it when he studied in Spain for a year as an undergraduate.
“I noticed people were healthier and thinner there. When I stepped off the plane in the United States, I noticed a weight problem.”
He was correct. According to the Centers for Disease Control – the CDC – “more than one-third (34.9 percent or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese.”
Obesity brings with it several problems, namely, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death. Of the minor ailments, some men suffer from erectile dysfunction as a result of their weight issues. Many procure medications for ED through online consultations, and the availability of pharmacies like Blink Health provides an easy and private way to buy prescribed medication.
Even though ED can be countered with medications, all other consequences of obesity cannot be always handled the same way. The numbers are increasingly alarming. By state, Arkansas and Mississippi tipped the obesity percentages at more than 35 percent.
Folks, from the 20-somethings to the 80-plus somethings need to take their health seriously, and they need to get moving. People need to be active, Ripperda said.
And they need to be accountable. While wearing a Fitbit would be great, sometimes a less expensive alternative will let folks know how many steps they have taken in a day, looking for the magic number: 10,000.
Pedometers can track steps, and they cost a fraction of the money a Fitbit does.
Ripperda said no matter what kind of device a walker uses, “it doesn’t lie.”
To make sure people are actually accountable for the steps they take, it’s necessary to keep track without estimating and guessing.
Also important, is changing eating habits. Put the “evil cheetos” away, and eating French fries is not the best way to show your support for France.
Be aware of the fat and calories that cross your lips and eventually find their way to expand your size in rather unflattering ways.
Maybe check in with a nutritionist or dietitian in person or possibly online.
And seniors, even if they are perambulating at a slower pace can find wellness classes in various locations, possibly at a local clinic or hospital or senior center in your community.
Becoming healthier is a goal for everyone no matter how old or how young.
A little internet investigation can provide suggestions about how to begin.
To find out about more programs available at St. Joseph Memorial Hospital go to their website stjosephmemorialhospital.org