Part 3 of a series on how to use supplement and behavior-based plans to treat common maladies. To read the detailed plan, order supplements, or download the patient resource sheets, go here to create a free patient account at Fullscript by entering your name and email address: Dr. Mark McDonald’s Fullscript dispensary.

I tell my patients that sleep, diet, and exercise represent the foundation of good health, both physical and mental. Like a three-legged stool, even if one component is wobbly or missing, the whole structure collapses. Many people mistakenly believe that in order to benefit from exercise, they must perform a high-intensity workout at least three times a week. This is far from true. In fact, the benefits are readily available to anyone, even if he never sets foot in a gym.

Of course, competitive athletes must work hard to achieve an edge over other athletes. That is not the benefit I am referring to. What most people desire from exercise is an improvement in health, protection from disease and illness, and longevity. All three can be earned by simply walking 20 minutes a day.

That’s it. Daily walking.

Exercise research is quite clear. You receive about 80% of the maximum health benefits available through exercise by doing nothing more than taking a brisk walk every day. That movement alone regulates metabolism, reduces stress, balances mood, and improves sleep. When done in the morning, exposure to early sunlight provides an added benefit for energy, immune system functioning, and sleep regulation. When done in the evening, exposure to late sunlight assists with calming the body and mind to prepare for sleep. When done at any time of day after a meal, walking assists with weight control and combats insulin resistance.

Walking is accessible. Walking is free. Walking doesn’t require a gym or equipment.

Of course, any full body exercise can substitute: hiking, running, swimming, rock climbing. What’s most important is that it be done regularly and outdoors whenever possible. One of the main reasons Americans have become generally unhealthy recently is their reliance on automobiles to get around. In most other developed countries, all people—children, adults, elderly—walk every day. We drive to our destinations, park our cars, and then walk inside a building, where we sit down until we’re ready to walk back to our cars again. If we are unable to integrate walking into our commute or our shopping trips, then we must integrate it into our morning or evening routine—or dedicate 20 minutes of our daily lunch hour to leaving the office and taking a stroll. We can’t afford not to.

One of the first noticeable changes after beginning a daily walking routine is a boost in energy. While it’s true that high-intensity workouts deplete energy, frequent low-intensity exercise like walking raises energy levels. This is likely due to a combination of improvement in perceived stress, sleep quality, and metabolic efficiency. Walking after a meal is a far better way to combat postprandial sluggishness than coffee because it directly addresses the rise in blood sugar and resulting insulin release that comes from eating.

There are additional ways to support healthy energy levels through nutritional supplements. Magnesium, in the proper form, supports energy production through muscle and nerve function regulation. The B vitamin family allows the human body to make use of nutrients that release energy, both in the brain and the rest of the body. Creatine, in the proper form, improves physical strength and stamina, among many other health benefits. Organ meat, in particular liver, supplies an immensely concentrated dose of multiple vitamins and minerals, including iron, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin D, phosphorous, zinc, selenium, and copper. For those who are not fond of eating cooked liver, the same benefits and nutrition can be had from dried liver supplements.

In addition to daily exercise through walking, I recommend including supplements that help to supply and release energy throughout the body: magnesium, B vitamins,  creatine, and dried liver meat. Below is a link to my fatigue and low energy supplement plan I provide my patients. I am now sharing it with my Substack subscribers. To access the plan, you must first create a free patient account at Fullscript by entering your name and email address: Dr. Mark McDonald’s Fullscript dispensary.