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After WLS: Walking for Wellness


Step for step, mile for mile, walking is the best cardiovascular activity you can include as part of your weight loss surgery success story. Walking is easy, accessible, inexpensive, individual and effective. It is the gold-star sport for real people with real lives. Formerly stigmatized as cheap transportation and a senior citizens' sport it is now a credible and fashionable form of exercise. And it's been around for a long time - anthropoids stood upright and put one foot in front of the other thousands of years ago and we haven't looked back since.

Now validated, as a vigorous fitness activity walking has become America's most popular physical activity with over 20-million people stepping out regularly. Studies abound touting the benefits of walking: including weight loss, lowered risk of stroke or heart disease and improved mental well-being. While it may sound trite, 30-minutes of walking a day will keep the doctor away.

Be sure to record your walking activity beginning on the very first day. Find a notebook, a journal, or a computer program where you can record your time and distance each day. This may sound silly the first week when you are taking 5-minute walks, but very soon you will rejoice at your progress if you have a record of where you began.

To achieve maximum benefit from this walking program, you will need a good pair of soft athletic walking shoes, preferably with ankle support. I suggest you get these prior to surgery so you don't have the "no shoes" excuse to put-off your walking program. Give them to yourself as a gift acknowledging your bravery and courage to make this positive change in your life.

Next, plan where you will walk. Raise your hand if you already own a treadmill! Mine was stored in a forgotten corner of the basement, bought with the best intention, but abandoned for a number of excuses. Get that old friend out and put it where you'll use it. most treadmills for home use are rated at a 250-pound weight limit. Fresh out of gastric bypass surgery, most of us exceed that limit. Fitness equipment manufacturers say that if the weight limit is exceeded, but at a slow pace for short duration, the treadmill should not be damaged. I say, take your chances and walk on the treadmill. It won't take long before you drop below the weight limit and in the meantime you are becoming stronger and fitter by taking short walks on the machine.

If your climate and neighborhood are equitable plan a walking route out-of-doors. Prior to surgery measure your route by the quarter mile. One determined patient I know walked one driveway further each day until she made it all the way around the block. Counting driveways is how she marked her progress. Good for her!

Do you prefer to walk in the climate-controlled mall? Plan a walking route there - just be sure to swiftly step past the bakery and candy store. Many malls have early hours when people can gather and fitness walk without having to navigate around shoppers.

For best success sip water throughout your walk. Wear comfortable clothing for easy movement. Avoid exercising in extreme weather - too hot or very cold.

Now equipped with great shoes, comfortable clothes, a walking route and a journal to record your progress you are ready to take your first step! Here is my plan to walk your way into a healthier life.

Copyright © 2005 Kaye Bailey - All Rights Reserved.

Kaye Bailey is a weight loss surgery success story having maintained her health and goal weight for 5+ years. An award winning journalist, she is the author and webmaster of http://www.livingafterwls.com and http://www.livingafterwls.blogspot.com Fresh & insightful content is added daily, check in often.


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