Saturday, April 13, 2013

Why Walking Really Matters--Part Two

As I mentioned in my previous post on "Why Walking Really Matters," walking to the changing rhythm of music is beneficial to those who live with a balance disorder.  In her article on examiner.com Debbie Nicholson writes:
The results showed overall balance and functional tests had improved in the intervention group compared to the control group. The rate of falls decreased in the intervention group along with a decreased rate of falling. Among the intervention group there were 24 falls where compared to the control group who had 54 falls. The control group did show similar changes during the second six month period when they were enrolled in the exercise program.
You can read the full article (and even see a couple of videos) right here: click me.

I am reviewing these walking dvds because Leslie Sansone's walking workouts are defined by the rhythm of the music.  I am also reviewing these from the perspective of someone living with a balance disorder.

Walk Away the Pounds:  Ultimate Collection
What you get:
Four workouts--1, 2, 3, and 4 miles each
1 stretchy/resistance band

It makes sense to review these two dvds together because they are both "repackaged" by which I mean that they were initially released separately or as part of a set but have since been rearranged.  How can I tell?  The first mile on both dvds is the same workout.  Ironically, it is also my least favorite of all of the 1 mile workouts I have in my collection.  But that's okay.  The rest of this dvd more than makes up for it.  In both dvds you have Leslie Sansone exercising with a group of people behind her.  For those users who prefer a group, you'll love these people!

Get Up & Get Started (1 mile walk)
As I've already said, this workout is featured on both dvds, is the first workout on both, and is not my favorite.  I don't think it's the use of the weighted balls because I seem to enjoy some of the other "extras" I'm using with other dvds.  No.  I think in this case it's hearing the people add their thoughts.  This definitely makes it feel like you are working out with a friendly group of people.  I don't know if it's the juxtaposition of my working out at home and not needing a group dynamic or what but I just don't love this one workout.  However, I've used it, more than once, so it's not so distasteful that I avoid it altogether.

There is no countdown but every quarter of a mile a tracker appears on the bottom of the screen so you know how far you have gone.
Very Important:  Nothing on the dvd cover suggests you will want/need the weighted balls and this is unfortunate.  I have no doubt that several people buying this dvd will be disappointed that the first workout uses something that is not included.  However, the weighted balls are optional and you can easily substitute a couple of cans of soup or vegetables, whatever you have on hand.
2 Mile Brisk Walk
You'll be using the resistance band but not until you have completed the first mile so just have it nearby.  If you store it folded or rolled up, you'll want to open it up when you set it aside.  I have to say that this is one of my favorite walks although I would love it if the resistance band were used longer.  But that's my preference and if I really wanted to use it longer, I could invest in a resistance band that has more tension.  The band that comes with the dvd has a very low tension.  Most stores with an exercise aisle now include resistance bands that come three tensions to a set.  If you think you'll be investing in a resource you will only use with this dvd, you can easily find a wealth of online articles and even videos on youtube.  Every quarter of a mile you will be told of your progress.

3 Mile Advanced Walk
I love this group of people and I do like using the resistance band during my workout.  Unfortunately, a broke one band because it didn't offer enough resistance and when I shortened it up to create more it snapped.  On the plus side, it didn't hurt or anything.  I just kept going.  And I actually have a collection of these bands (albeit, one less now!) so the next time I grabbed a different band.  (I haven't broken another band since so maybe the one band I used had a hole or something.)

You'll definitely work up a sweat with this one and you can tell that the people exercising with her are long-time friends.  A few are super enthusiastic and you have a variety of ages and body types so you won't feel like the odd man out (because you're either older or heavier or whatever).  There is even an older gentleman on this workout and I just love it when the group of people exercising with her is a range of ages/sizes/etc.
Please Note:  Although she does say to maintain tension on the resistance band, you will notice that not all of the people do.  Follow Sansone's instructions and example to reduce risk and get the full workout.  There's a reason you want to 1) maintain control and resistance and 2) never ever lock your joints!

4 Mile Super Challenge Walk
You won't need the resistance band or anything else for this high intensity workout.  It is amazing what a difference going from 3 miles to 4 miles can do for your stamina.  You wouldn't think just one more mile would feel so different but boy does it feel like work.  Have a towel handy or wear layers you can peel away.  Sansone mixes things up a bit by adding a kick back to the sidesteps and a few other things.  I want to point out that she does invite you to "raise your hands to heaven and say thank you" as well as "say hallelujah" and this may be a problem for some.  I know that she has some Christian themed workouts but these allusions to her faith are not off-putting for me.  I mention them because this dvd is released through Gaiam and some non-theists and non-Judeo-Christians may take exemption.

Walk Away the Pounds:  5 Day Fit Walk
What you get:
Five workouts--2 one mile workouts plus 3 two mile workouts
You will need 1 lb weighted balls (or you can do what I do and just use some cans of soup from your pantry)

Get Up & Get Started (1 mile walk)
See above for review of the first workout on this dvd collection.

High Calorie Burn (2 mile walk)
At the end of "Get Up & Get Started" Sansone says that there's a 2 mile walk using the balls. But it isn't on the previous dvd so imagine my pleasant surprise when I found it here.  Most of the same people from the 1 mile walk are there for this 2 mile walk and the weight balls are not introduced until after the first mile.  Again, you have the interaction with the people talking about where they feel different moves.  I don't know why it is I don't like this but I do like that I feel like I got a good workout; good enough to change my shirt which was uncomfortably wet from all the sweating.

30-Minute Walk
This is a 2 mile walk in which Leslie Sansone is surrounded by some of her walk leaders.  I definitely recognize more than a few of the faces.  There is one move that she does which is not unique to this workout but I wanted to mention it in particular and in the context of exercising with a balance disorder.  There is a side-step which she changes into a toe-touch. This toe-touch can be turned into a quick lunge with a simple turn of the torso.  However, this can be a challenge for someone living with a balance disorder.  Needless to say, when you are lunging left-right-left-right, your head moves with your body which makes it difficult to focus on a singe spot.

With that said, Sansone is enthusiastic about reminding the user to modify.  Just walk in place if you don't have room to walk two-steps up and two-steps back.  Just do a side-step without bending your legs if increasing the intensity is too much.  So on days when I'm not quite feeling up to a quick lunge, I have no problem sticking with the toe-tap. I say it a lot:  You should always listen to your body.  When you live with a balance disorder, you don't really have a choice because changes happen internally from day-to-day, sometimes hour-by-hour.  That's why it is such a joy to find a workout that can be easily modified.  No need to risk a fall when you simply don't have to push yourself to reap the benefits of healthy and careful exercise.

Walk & Kick
Here we have Leslie Sansone incorporating some kickboxing moves into her usual walking routine.  She has four of her trainers with her.  This one may be a little difficult for those with a balance disorder, especially when she does the  "mini squats" with a bob and weave.  She invites you to "get lower" but you don't have to.  You especially may find it challenging to do the cross punch with the bob.  You know when someone without a balance disorder asks "Are you feeling dizzy?" then someone with one is probably saying, "I was before we started!"  Just be sure to listen to your body and to Sansone who doesn't hesitate to say you can just walk.  So if something doesn't feel right, don't do it.  Just keep moving to the pace of the music. I would suggest, when the pace slows down a bit for the kickboxing interval, add some upper body work by way of moving the arms.  After watching the first three workouts on this dvd, you should know how to keep going without lowering your heart rate and losing all the aerobic benefit.  I had to modify the back kicks by changing the move into a simple leg lift.  I didn't even bobble!

There is no countdown nor tracker announcements in this workout but Sansone says there will be four intervals so you can tell you're making progress simply by knowing you have started and/or finished one of the intervals.  Worked for me!

Power Mile
The final workout on this dvd uses the weighted balls.  As the title suggests, you will do only one mile on this one and it's a good mile.  There are only two other women working out with Sansone and you can tell this one of the earlier workouts she recorded.  I found the stage a little strange, even off-putting.  I used this for the first time on what I would call a good day.  I have a feeling, however, that the stage for this particular workout would be difficult for some people with a balance disorder.  With that in mind, I'd strongly urge anyone with a balance disorder to do this one mile without weights, just to see how it "feels" before grabbing those balls (or cans).  Always err on the side of caution!

No comments:

Post a Comment