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> Back to Plus-Size Fitness Excerpts List

Plus-Size Fitness Excerpt from Don't Weight

"House Walking"

This is a workout for those who have mobility problems and those who want a gentle workout right in their own home. I will describe a walking program developed by a creative client and myself in answer to the challenges of limited mobility and back problems. We started out talking by phone because she could not walk to appointments. Now she gets out often and even comes to our fitness class occasionally. When at home, she works out daily to maintain her hard won mobility.

It all started because Sharon had back pain and knee problems. She wanted to get more fit, but she could hardly walk. She purchased and used the "Fitness with Bliss(, Sitting Aerobics" workout video for people who face super challenges to fitness. This sitting workout helped her overall fitness level and reduced some of her back pain, but it did not do enough to strengthen the muscles that help her walk. We needed to add something else to her workout.

Because of her back pain, Sharon avoided carrying any large loads. In one of our phone counseling sessions she was talking about how difficult it was to do the simplest household tasks. She would have to put the laundry away one small pile at a time instead of carrying a basket. She had to carry one object at a time when straightening up a room. As I listened, it sounded like Sharon (the woman who had trouble walking) was walking quite a lot just to do her daily tasks! When I pointed that out to her, she began to feel proud of her accomplishments instead of frustrated by how long it took to get things done. We developed a workout we called "house walking".

The first focus was walking in good posture. This develops the muscles that support good posture in general. Next, it was important to bend and lift with back safety in mind, even when lifting small objects. And finally we had to pay attention to turning around in a small space. For all people, but especially for large people, it is dangerous to twist or turn on a weight bearing leg. That is, if you are standing on your right foot and you twist on your right leg, you would be putting potentially dangerous stress on the right knee. In a small space, like in the house, there is a temptation to twist when turning around. Instead of twisting, I encourage picking up the feet and taking tiny marching steps to turn around. This strengthens the walking muscles and minimizes torque or twisting in the knee.

When you put all these together, good posture, healthy lifting, and stepping around when you turn, you can get a good workout while doing daily tasks. The trip from the laundry room to the bedroom may not be as long as a high school track, but it is a lot longer than a treadmill (and a lot cheaper too.) By making many trips back and forth, you will be covering a nice distance. If you apply this same technique to all your household tasks and group tasks together into one nice workout, you are in good shape. You are accomplishing both your household chores and your fitness workout. You will spend a little more time, but you are doing more. This "house walking" workout is especially helpful if you have difficulty walking several blocks at a time. It is also great when the weather prevents you from walking outside.

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By Kelly Bliss M.Ed., A.C.E. author of Don’t Weight, Eat Healthy & Get Moving NOW!
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