Friday, June 29, 2012

Walking Towards Better Health

Why You Should Take A Walk


Yes, I'm talking about walking, and this is coming from someone who didn't walk for exercise. I always encouraged my clients to walk but walking wasn't my thing, I was a biker and a runner. A few years ago, my friend was training for a walking marathon and she invited me to join her on the lakefront, in Chicago. I really got into it because I could put on my headphones, listen to my favorite workout music, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. It's a frugal workout and all you need are some fitness shoes with good arch support. I have two success stories of people I have trained or given advice to on walking.

walking-success-stories


Success Story 1: Tom


Tom was a janitor in the building where I worked. One day he came to the fitness center asking me to take his blood pressure. It was 230/110 -- borderline hypertension is 140/90. I advised him to leave work immediately and go to the emergency room. Tom was gone from work about a week and when I saw him again, he told me the doctor had increased his blood pressure medicine.

Every morning, I would see Tom walking to work because we parked our cars in the same spot, about 5 blocks from the building. I told him he could decrease his blood pressure simply by walking; instead of parking 5 blocks from the building, he should park 8 blocks away. Eight blocks in our city cover approximately one mile. After doing this for one month, he could increase the distance to 12 blocks. He thanked me; I didn't see him for a while. About 6 weeks later, he came to my office and told me his blood pressure had dropped to 130/70; he was now walking 14 blocks to and from his car. I was elated and asked: What will you do in the winter time? His answer: I'm going to walk and cold weather isn't going to put an end to my program. He is still walking, and that was 8 years ago.


Success Story 2: Kim


Kim called my business begging me to train her though she didn't have a lot of money. She was 24 with 5 kids and had congestive heart failure, hypertension and weighed 315 pounds. I decided to train her pro bono for 6 weeks. After going through her pantry and throwing out all the processed food, we went outside for a walk. She could not walk half a block; that's about 6 houses from her home. She cried because she felt like a failure to her children and all she wanted to do was to be able to walk them to school. 

I developed a fitness plan for her whereby she would walk that half of a block every day. Each week, we would add one house until she reached the end of the block. Needless to say, by the time we completed the 6 week program, she was walking her children to school. I advised her to continue walking every day, as much as possible. She should get off the bus a few stops from her house and always try to park far away from the entrance of a store. I was so proud because her heart's efficiency had gone up by 20% by the time her 6 weeks were up. I lost contact with her and I hope she is still heeding my advice.

Walking for Fitness


Walking is a low impact activity that is aerobic in nature. Aerobic exercise is great for your heart and lungs; it affects blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels, and of course, it helps control weight. It can be done anywhere, even in your home, and it won't cost you any money. If you are out of shape, please consider walking as a way to get you started on a path of good health. Do you have a walking story you wish to share?

7 comments:

  1. My overweight co-worker wanted to lose weight for a wedding. She signed up for a boot camp workout through a Groupon. After two weeks she injured her knee and could barely work. I sent her to my orthopedic. He gave her a cortisone shot - only because she needed to walk at this wedding. He told her he doesn't like to tell people they shouldn't exercise, but at her age (52) and fitness level she should not have been taking a boot camp class. Instead he would have recommended she walk every day for 30 minutes and eat a diet of protein, vegetables and fruits. He said she would lose weight following those instructions.

    After the wedding the cortisone shot wore off - that was almost two months ago and she is still hobbling around. Her plan is to go in when it is convenient, have surgery and be good as new. I let you know how it works out.

    As to losing weight she was considering hiring a trainer after her injury, but since she still can't walk that is all on hold.

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    1. Yes, walking would have been a better way to go, or at least worked with a trainer first.

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  2. Walking is great exercise! Those are awesome success stories! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Walking is a great way to stay in shape! I try to encourage my mom to walk more...every little bit helps! #wowlinkup

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  4. Walking is great alone or in conjunction with other exercise.

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  5. Great success stories! I love how you help people! Walking is a great way to stay in shape. When I used to work, I would get others to walk with me downtown. It was great way to get in exercise during the work day. #wowlinkup

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  6. My mother walked off 20 lbs so walking definitely has it benefits and merits!!!! I love reading awesome success stories too. #wowlinkup

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