Life Styles

Walk Your Way To Better Health

There’s a workout that you do every day, even if you don’t know it. Of all the ways to stay fit, walking is the easiest, safest and cheapest. If you’ve been walking most of your life, you may be an expert at it already. It’s a natural movement-no fighting the way your body was designed to move-and there’s almost no risk of injury. You can start with little more than a good pair of walking shoes. Best of all, it’s an activity you can enjoy either by yourself or together with friends and family.

Walk expert Leslie Sansone has been putting a bounce in people’s steps for the past 25 years. With her energy and enthusiasm, Leslie teaches people of all ages and shapes how to get fit, stay fit and feel better about life, simply by walking. Her In-Home Walking workout is a system of walking that can be done in the comfort of your own home. It’s all in the newest DVD in her “Walk At Home With Leslie Sansone” series, “Advanced 5-Mile Walk.”

A one-mile brisk walk burns almost as many calories as a one-mile run. Even a moderately paced stroll has health benefits. In fact, according to a recent Harvard University study, walking as little as an hour a week, at any pace, reduces the risk of coronary artery disease. Longer and more vigorous walking produced a greater risk reduction. Here are some tips to get the most out of your walks:

• Walk whenever you can. Park a little further away than usual, or if you use public transportation, consider getting off a stop earlier or later than you normally would. If you’re only traveling a short distance, consider walking the entire way. Where possible, use the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator.

• Make topography your friend. Walking uphill burns more calories than flat ground and helps build strength and stamina. Surprisingly, walking downhill can be harder on your body than going up, so slow down and keep your knees bent.

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• Hand weights, up to 10 percent of your total weight, can help you reach your exercise goal.

• Try a walking workout in your own home. You don’t need a treadmill-any space in your home where you can take just a few steps can be as good as a track. Simply find walking programs that are easy to follow, can be performed in a small space and do not require expensive equipment, and you’re off.