Simmons: Improve your overall health with physical activity, one step at a time

If you’re looking for a way to beat stress, improve your overall health and simply feel better, I’ve got the answer.

Research continues to find that being more active is one of the keys to better health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists numerous benefits of physical activity, including increased energy, improved sleep and — most importantly — the prevention of chronic disease, such as heart disease, cancer and stroke.


In its Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults engage in at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of physical activity a week for substantial health benefits. The guidelines also recommend that adults sit less and move more, stressing that some physical activity is better than none.

I understand that each of us is at a different place on our health journey, and it can be difficult to start. But think about the health benefits you’ll reap once you do!

I make physical activity a priority every day, no matter how hectic my schedule is that day. I am proud to say that I have “closed the rings” on my Apple Watch every single day this year. That means I have stood and moved around for at least a minute every hour for 12 hours; exercised 30 minutes or more; and burned my allotted amount of calories each day. This year I have felt more energized, and I attribute it in no small part to my sustained physical activity.

It isn’t easy. I have days when it’s getting late and I realize I am not going to hit my targets, so I walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes or do a YouTube guided session of yoga. And there have been times when I’ve had to stand up and walk around in a meeting because I’ve gotten a notification that I’ve been sitting too long.

I encourage you, with the blessing of your physician, to embark on your health improvement journey. Start by walking for a few minutes and work your way up from there. See where it takes you and what benefits it provides. Set a goal and work hard to accomplish it. Be the example in someone else’s life.

I would love to hear what positive steps you’ve taken on your wellness journey. Have you started eating less and moving more? Quit smoking? Enrolled in a fitness class? Share your successes with me at

You can do it, one step at a time.

Leslie Simmons, R.N., F.A.C.H.E., is the president of Carroll Hospital and executive vice president of LifeBridge Health.