Walk off the weight

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - If you're looking to shape up and don't want to fork out the money for a gym membership or the pain with a high impact routine, walking is a great way to make your waistline shrink. In this Healthcast, we find out how one woman shed some unwanted pounds and found the energy she thought had been lost forever.

With four kids and a full-time job, 36-year-old Dawn Celestine needed a fitness routine that worked with her.  "My plan when I decided to start losing weight and inches was to eat right and walk a little more," says Dawn, "just to get my blood pumping and burn calories."

In February, Dawn decided to up her walking each day. As a patient escort at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, she was already clocking two miles a day, but it was adding some extra steps that began to make a difference.  "After work about three times a week," she says, "I would do a walking CD and I would walk in the parking garage going up, which intensifies the workout and in the middle of the day, I would do a two minute workout just to boost my energy."

By the time the summer rolled around, Dawn had shed 34 pounds - by doing something most of us just simply don't do enough of - walking!  McNeese State University Athletic Trainer J.D. Boudreaux says carving out the time to get moving for a half-hour each day benefits more than your weight loss goals.  "There's many health benefits from exercising daily," says Boudreaux, "it's proven in research that only 30 minutes a day can help lower your risk for heart disease and lower your cholesterol."

Walking doesn't cost anything, it can be done just about anywhere and it's something that even the most sedentary folks can do.  "You want to get off to a slow start, don't just jump into the program with a lot of mileage or a lot of time," says Boudreaux, "slowly work into it and it's very important to begin and end each workout with a stretching routine."

Boudreaux says stretching is key to warming up the muscles and preventing injuries.  If you're just getting started, plan to do a 7 1/2 minute in and out walk to total 15 minutes a few days a week. Slowly add on some mileage and time until you're happy with the results you're seeing. For Dawn, the energy boost for her brood is enough to keep her moving.  "At the end of the day when I get home," says Dawn, "we have to do homework and feed the kids and I feel like I have more energy to get through it!"

*A daily brisk walk is also shown to prevent depression, colon cancer and osteoporosis.  As part of LCMH's "31 Days of Keeping the Girls Healthy," there are two opportunities for you to start your own walking program.  Friday at 8:00 A.M. at Prien Lake Mall, Dr. Scott Hofer will be on site along with some athletic trainers to explain how to shape a program for your needs.  And the next day is the first annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event at Heritage Square in Sulphur. Walkers will take off at 8:00 A.M.

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