Renee Anzalone is an ACSM-CPT certified personal trainer and private chef. She has been working in the fitness industry for over 25 years. Renee was a marathon coach with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for 5 years. She is currently working towards her ACSM-CEP certification which will allow her to work with cancer patients and survivors. She promotes healthy life style changes through exercise and diet. Renee has been in the food industry since she was 16 years old. Her focus now is healthy vegetarian cooking.

Q: Do I have to be super fit to participate in a walk like Susan G. Komen?

A: Any one can start a walking program. You just need a good pair of walking shoes and the desire to get moving. Start with a 15 to 30 minute walk five  days a week. Every week add on 5 more minutes to your daily walk. Try to build up to one hour of walking a day.

Q: I like walking, but I have bad knees/ankles. How can I modify my walks and/or strengthen my knees?

A: If you have bad knees and ankles make sure you have good walking shoes. You may want to start walking on softer surfaces like a local track, trails or a tread mill. As your muscles get stronger you can start to transition to sidewalks and paved trails. Start your walks at a slower pace to warm up your muscles after 5 minutes you can pick up the pace. Also slow down for the last 5 minutes of your walk to cool down.

Q: What is considered a good fitness pace for walking?

A: A good walking pace is a 15 minute mile. It may take you a while to build up to this pace. When you walk you should be winded but still be able to hold a conversation.

Q: I know I havbe bad arthuritis in my knees, hips and back. It is even hard for me to walk at all sometimes. I really want to get more fit. In March 2009, I had the Blue Capsule (Iodine Radiation) for my Thyroid. I had been gaining weight for a few years but my diet had not really changed. I wasn’t as active. But after the treatment, I begin to eat more whole grain, did watch my portion size, but a lot of the cravings left after treatment. From March to Dec 2009 I lost 14 pounds, and from Dec 2009 to Dec 2010, I had lost a total of 32 pounds. I did not really excercise but the weight went off. I want to lose a few more pounds but seems I’m stalled. I want to become more active, but it hurts my knees, hips and especially my back to walk even 30 minutes. How can I walk more and not hurt. I have 4 wonderful dogs that I’d love to walk, but my back hurts so much by the time I’ve gone 15 to 30 minutes, that I just find it hard. Before a wreck in 2002, I use to walk my whole 1 hour lunch break and come back to the office and have a bite of lunch. I felt better. What can I do.

A: Great question. First off congratulations on your weight loss.

The first thing you need to do is consult with your doctor before you start a walking or exercise program.
The Arthritis Foundation has a great web site that can help you as well.
Research shows walking, swimming,biking,strength training and stretching done properly will help alleviate the pain caused by arthritis.

I recommend you start with your walking shoes. Go to a shoe store that specializes in fitting and will evaluate you individually. You will need maximum shock absorption.
Start with low intensity and duration. You can do two 15 minute walks a day instead of one 30 minute walk.
Include flexibility and joint range of motion exercise.
Include a strength training program.
Try to alternate different forms of aerobic exercise that are partial weight bearing or non weight bearing like cycling or water work outs.
Remember some post exercise soft tissue discomfort may be expected but if your discomfort is sever or persists reduce exercise duration or intensity.
I recommend you also consult with a fitness trainer to make sure you are getting the most from your exercise program.

Good luck

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