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Find Inspiration in Walden

Image of Walden Pond.

In this 200th anniversary year of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, each of us can increase our health and well-being by applying his guidance to our regular exercise activities. Thoreau, one of the United States' greatest writers, naturalists, and philosophers, not only walked the length and breadth of Concord, his beloved hometown in Massachusetts, but also walked and hiked far and wide across farms, riverbeds, parklands, and mountains all over Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

In Thoreau's time, the early and middle decades of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution was just beginning to impact daily life. In those days, men and women still engaged in substantial quantities of physical labor, and exercise as such was never conceived as necessary. At present, in marked contrast, regular exercise is a key requirement for a healthy life. We need to break away, for at least 30 minutes every day, from our computer monitors and our mobile device screens. Thoreau would not recognize the sprawling urbanity of our cramped cities and their satellite suburbs, but he would likely strongly encourage us to get out there, walk as much as we can, and enjoy as much green space as possible.

For Thoreau, being outdoors was imperative. In his revered essay, "Walking," he informed his readers that he could not stay in his "chamber for a single day without acquiring some rust." Admittedly, our mode of living is quite different from his. For many of us, getting to some green space requires a bit of effort. However, in the 21st century, we need to make sure we're doing sufficient vigorous exercise, and walking on city streets and avenues counts as much as does walking along a tree-lined lane.

For those of us who haven't done any regular exercise for some time, walking is an optimal way to get back in shape. Regardless of one's age, renewing one's acquaintance with the process of exercise should be a gradual process. Start slowly, beginning with a 15-minute walk at a slow pace. Increase your pace over time until you're able to do a brisk 15-minute walk. Then increase your duration in small increments, decreasing your pace if needed. Within, typically, four to six weeks, you've become able to do a brisk 30-minute walk. Longer durations may be appropriate, whenever possible. The federal government recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of vigorous exercise five times a week to achieve and maintain good health.

Regular chiropractic care helps us achieve our exercise goals and is an important component of our overall health and well-being strategy. Regular chiropractic care helps our spines maintain their balance, flexibility, and mechanical integrity, and a well-functioning spinal column helps ensure optimal activity of our nerve system. When the nerve system, our body's master system, is functioning properly, all our other physiological systems are able to do their jobs more effectively. In this way, regular chiropractic care helps us get the most out of our exercise activities and helps us obtain high levels of health and wellness.

  1. Shanahan DF, et al: The Benefits of Natural Environments for Physical Activity. Sports Med 46(7):989-995, 2016
  2. Ulmer JM1, et al: Multiple health benefits of urban tree canopy: The mounting evidence for a green prescription Health Place 42:54-62, 2016
  3. Cox DTC, et al; Doses of Neighborhood Nature: The Benefits for Mental Health of Living with Nature BioScience 67(2):147-155, 2017

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    I had been experiencing tightness in my lower left back and buttocks going down the exterior of my left leg for about six months. I tried adjusting my posture and doing frequent stretching exercises. Although the problem didn't get worse, neither did it improve.
    After my first visit with Dr. Rich, I noticed a huge improvement. The pain down my leg reduced by 80% and the tightness in my back and buttocks improved too. Thus far I have had four sessions and continue to feel better with each visit. If not for Dr. Rich's treatments, who knows how long I would have continued living day to day with this irritating constant pain."
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    Additionally all the work that Dr. Rich did on my spine, knees, left foot and shoulder joints have both relieved a great deal of pain and resulted in what I believe is an overall improvement in function.
    All in all by the time Dr. Rich recently released me, I feel that my back and joints are in better condition than before the accident. They certainly feel better.
    I cannot thank you enough."
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    I started treatment with Dr. Rich and Christina, his wonderful massage therapist about two months ago. I had an appointment to see the nutritionist and arrived early so someone suggested to get a massage and I shared my neck and shoulder discomfort.
    I ended up being treated by Dr. Rich and he adjusted my neck, back and shoulder and I could not be happier. I never thought that all of my neck, shoulder and back issues would go away. I am a nurse and had been suffering with this pain for about a year. I am now able to work out and use my shoulder. My neck doesn't hurt and I am a happier person.
    Thank you so much Dr. Rich and Christina!"
    OP