As I sat down to write about starting a fitness program, I realized that I needed help. A LOT of help. I’m one of those that NEED to heed the warning: "Consult a doctor before beginning this or any other exercise program." You see, I have a background in dance therapy. After an accident that left me unable to walk for years, and a physical therapist and doctor who pushed me, I was able to take cues from my training and learn to WALK again (I had been told that I’d be spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair or BEST scenario – with a brace on my leg). I still need to check with my doctor before trying ANYTHING new, AND I err on the side of caution, as I know that one wrong move could set me back.
I went to the woman whom I consider to be my fitness guru, Leslie Sansone. I personally used her Walk Aerobics DVD’s to help me rehab, as short walks turned out to be the most gentle on my fragile joints. I still use her programs to keep fit, my newest fave being her Just Walk: Belly Blasting Walk. PLUS, she’s over 50 like me.
Here is what Leslie suggests:
I have good news, the word "START" is the key to all the benefits!
Don’t judge yourself, don’t judge the type of exercise, don’t judge the length of time that you exercise, there should be no judgment! The people that enjoy healthy success in this life are those that just "START!"
Beginner’s get fast results. If you haven’t exercised on a regular basis and now your 50? No worries! You’ll love how good you feel in just a few days of fitness walking! Since the body will have to adapt to your new routine, you’ll see changes fast!
Now you are ready to START!
My advice, since I have studied this topic for over 25 years, is to start with mini power walks.
Did you know that fitness walking will do more good for your health over a lifetime than any other type of activity?
Before you start your day…
Do a mini power walk!
Walk on a treadmill, in the neighborhood, or my fave – in the kitchen! (You read it right!) Do this mini walk each weekday Monday through Friday.
Walk 5 minutes at a slow pace to warm muscles, prepare heart and lungs and lubricate joints (joints need a warm up to get fluid released for cushioning)!
Walk 5 minutes at a brisk pace – it feels like – "the bus is pulling away and you need to catch it!"
Walk 2 minutes at a slow pace for a cool down walk!
There is MAGIC in just 12 minutes of fitness walking. You’ll find that your mood is lifted, your circulation carries nutrients to cells everywhere, your brain gets more oxygen for clear thinking and better focus, your heart gets stronger, you breathe deeper and better, muscle and bone gets stronger … the list is endless!
Make your walk fun: download three "up tempo" songs that are about four minutes each. That 12-minute walk will be about 1 mile of exercise!
Add 3-5 minutes to your workout time every 2 weeks until you reach 30-minute walks!
Five 30 minute walks will get you in great shape and KEEP you that way for decades after your 50’s. We have testimony after testimony after testimony to prove it!
Should an exercise program change as we age?
An exercise program should only change if you have an event that would keep you from walking. I would add that once you get to a 30-minute fitness walk – 5 times per week – add about 10 – 15 minutes of strength training for major muscle groups 2 – 3 times per week.
Muscle loss is a concern as we age. Good thing there is plenty of muscle engagement in Fitness Walking to support lean muscle!
As always, check with your doctor before beginning ANY fitness program. Once s/he gives you the okay, I’ll see you on the walking path.