Saturday, April 06, 2013

Why Walking Really Matters--Part One

You will hear me talk a lot about walking and how often I use walking as my primary form of cardio exercise.  Although yoga is the foundation and the one exercise I try never to bypass (although there are times I do "let it go" as it were), when it comes to sweating away the pounds my go-to is walking.

I've read research where walking to the rhythm of music helps the elderly who are struggling with balance disorders.  I recently came across similar research results for people living with Parkinson's disease.  The key is that the pace of the music must change so that the person following the rhythm must change with the beat.  I have tried many walking dvds, some that purport to use the music to establish the pace of the walk, and Leslie Sansone is the only teacher who consistently uses rhythm for her walking workouts.  With over 25 years of experience and a library full of exercise dvds, her position as the doyen of walking at home is solid.

With that said, I wanted to give a quick rundown of some of the Leslie Sansone products that have come my way.  If you know someone who has a condition that may be compromising his/her balance, I am writing these reviews specifically with that as my focus.  This is the first of what will be at least five such posts.

3 Mile Slim & Sleek Walk Plus Pilates for Firm Abs
What You Get:
A 3 miles walk with a quirky stretch at the end.
You can always cut the 3 miles walk down to 1 or 2 miles.
This dvd allows you to turn off Leslie Sansone's instructions and just walk to the music however you choose.
A short Pilates inspired ab routine which can be done at the end of the walk or done on its own.

This is perhaps the most challenging of the dvds I've tried.  Sansone typically is very good about offering cues, letting the user anticipate what will come next.  Sure, sometimes she says you'll be switching to a new movement in four steps only to say do four more or she says you'll switch back to walk after one more set only to say "One more set" but that's not as worrisome for me as the occasional changes in this dvd that are not announced beforehand.  They are not so frequent that I would say bypass this dvd.  Rather, I would suggest that it be used with caution.

There is a part of this program in particular where you will need to use your balance by standing on one foot as you move the other leg in a full range of motion.  This can be extremely challenging for anyone with a balance disorder.  Sansone does suggest using a chair/wall for stability.  However, there is nothing on the dvd packaging to suggest you will need something like this so be aware to either have these things ready or just keep walking in place when she begins these leg exercises.

What You Get:
A 3 mile walk that can be cut back to one or two miles.
A bonus 500 step walk.
Suggested recipes which she prepares on camera so you can see how quick and easy it is to eat well.
Enclosed booklet with meal plan

This workout dvd is about par for the course.  Leslie Sansone takes you through the usual paces with a few variations.  A grapevine, a heel down, and a few other modifications to her traditional four basic moves.  This walk does not have a countdown timer so you have to rely on when she announces the mile marks.  However, a half-mile mark does come up during the walk so you’ll know when you’ve reached 1.5 and 2.5 miles.  She manages to be her usual chatty self and talks a little about excuses all the while motivating and encouraging the viewer to keep moving. 

This dvd originally came as part of a kit that would include a pedometer.  If you do not have a pedometer you can still use this dvd and benefit from the workout.  And the meals in the booklet are very simple, easy to make. You’ll even read Sansone’s perky comments about what she loves now and even what meal she loved as a kid.  Her enthusiasm is so infectious.  I often find perky exercise people annoying because I don’t share their enthusiasm.  But I never get annoyed when walking along with Sansone, whether she has other people behind her or she’s there on the screen talking to me and me alone.  I definitely enjoyed this workout. 

These dvds were a gift and a much appreciated one.  
I cannot thank the generous person  enough but I'm trying.  
I truly am!


  1. Continue to enjoy your DVDs! Walking is wonderful exercise. Instead of a pedometer, I got a small, portable GPS, which allows me to track my walks, and also gives me encouraging updates as I walk, although now I can use my phone in the same way.

    1. Just knocked out another 3 mile walk today after running errands. Next week I bump it up to 4 because that's what this kit has us doing.