13 Questions with 'Walk at Home' Expert Leslie Sansone

By , SparkPeople Blogger
A few weeks ago, we asked you if you had any questions for legendary walking expert Leslie Sansone. Today, Leslie is delivering answers and giving some great insights on fitness! We're a HUGE fan of Leslie's work (you can see our past interview with her here), and we're so honored that she took the time to answer questions again, both from us and from YOU! Take it away, Leslie! 

LS: First, let me give a BIG SHOUT OUT to the SparkPeople team!  Thank you for being one of the all time BEST choices for health seekers to find support, inspiration, tools, etc. to keep walking strong each day we are blessed to live! WALK ON, my friends at SparkPeople!

1. SP: How do you continue to innovate your workout programs and DVDs to keep them new and interesting for your tried and true fans?
LS: What every group exercise leader LOVES is to create new and motivating ways to keep people active and strong!  Since my early years of owning a fitness club and leading thousands of  ''live'' classes, I have always incorporated the latest trends, and more importantly, ''exercise science'' into my walking-based workouts. 

I just filmed a new DVD that introduces High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to our Advanced Walkers. HIIT is defined as very short ''bursts'' of cardio (30 seconds or less) rotated in between the brisk walking.  We have so many walkers that ask for more intensity, and HIIT is one of the most popular methods in fitness clubs today!  When Pilates was exploding, I incorporated Pilates techniques into one walking workout; you can really train the core while walking!  In many of the DVDs, we also also introduce stretches that are similar to yoga, etc. I keep ''walking'' as the foundation, but add what is new and popular in fitness clubs to each new routine. I crave what is new and fresh, both for me and for the Super Walkers that join me!

2. SP: What makes your newest DVD special?
LS: OMGoodness!!!! I just LOVE, LOVE (double LOVE!) our new title, Walk It Off in 30 DaysThis one is beyond a workout … it’s a 30-day PLAN!  No guessing when or how will you exercise; I plan it all out for 30 days!  Super Fans get the 30-minute cardio session (lots of brisk, new, walk-based combinations). This is called the ''BURN'' session and it’s equal to 2 miles of advanced walking! 

But the big, BIG feature on this DVD is the 30-minute ''FIRM'' session!  I introduce the best strength training exercises for all major muscle groups and add dumbbells for extra firming and toning.  It’s TOTAL fitness--50% cardio & 50% strength training is what I feel is the MOST EFFECTIVE way to spend your fitness time.  The plan is to do one of the 30-minute sessions each day for 30 days. Especially as the years fly by, I really see the need for basic strength training in my own routine … it really keeps a body working at its best! I am planning a 30-Day Challenge on Twitter in late September featuring this DVD!  Join us, everybody!

3. SP: Do you have an all-time favorite title from among all of your walking DVDs (and why)?
LS: Hmmmmm…. now that is like asking me which one of my children is my favorite!! I can’t choose… Oh, wait … I LOVED the very first time we put a camera on my class in my fitness club in Pennsylvania. We filmed it because of a request from one of my class members (Jean). She was going on vacation and didn’t want to miss a class (this was in 1985). Jean’s request is why I am here today, and I'm so thrilled to be the Walk Coach to millions! 

That video and class was titled ''Walk Aerobics'' and it went on to be released nationally at the same time that Jane Fonda released her first VHS workout.  I walked into our local K-Mart that year and couldn’t believe my eyes; our workout was on the shelf right next to Jane’s!  That is my all-time favorite because it was a real group of good people from my community. No one knew it was the beginning of a Walk Movement that would last decades and impact many!  (By the way, our endless testimonies support the effectiveness of our walk method!)

4. SP: Why does ''walking at home'' appeal to so many people?
LS: WALKING RULES!  Above any other form of fitness, FITNESS WALKING serves each of us for a lifetime of good health! Extreme exercise is good for some stages of life, sure. But walking will always be a smart choice for long-term wellness and weight loss! And working out at home rules, too! The convenience of walking ''miles'' in your living room, without a treadmill or any other equipment needed, is excuse-proof. You can walk any time, day or night!

Finally, affordable fitness is so important for everyone to have an opportunity to choose an active life. Can a DVD really impact your cost of living?? You better believe it! People that exercise have fewer health care costs, fewer sick days, etc. It’s cheap to be well, and it's expensive to be out of shape and de-conditioned! We have to WALK more, people!
5. SP: Besides the walking component, what is the #1 thing you'd recommend people do to get the most results from your programs?
LS: Rotate! I add strength training and flexibility in each workout  to get the best overall conditioning for all muscles, starting with the most important muscle: the heart. I want our fans to choose 3 or 4 DVDs to rotate through the week. That is a sure way to get all 600+ muscles awake and involved!

I believe atrophied muscle is one of our biggest health concerns. It creates a whole host of problems, from disease to weight gain!  It wasn’t only the ''super-sizing'' of food and drink that caused the AMA to declare obesity as a disease.  I am sure it also has something to do with the explosion of technology. Our bodies don’t MOVE most of the day--we are all on screens! Speaking of that… I must get up from my computer right now and run (or walk!) around for some circulation!!!!! Be right back…

6. SP: What do you prefer for your own workouts: walking inside or walking outdoors?
LS: I created effective walking workouts that we can all do on days when exercising outdoors is not an option.  I LOVE my occasional outdoor walks, but I need the type of walking that is in my DVDs because it moves in all planes of motion (very functional fitness). It's much more science-based fitness than a stroll around the neighborhood. These workouts operate at the speed we need for aerobic benefits. They challenge muscles in a way that outdoor walking doesn’t.

My own plan each week is to do 3 or 4 workouts from the DVDs. Then, on the weekends, my sister and I go for a walk at one of our favorite parks or ride bikes if weather allows. We all need variety and I love the extra time on weekends to do some fun activity!

7. Aimee M.: When I was at my heaviest, this was the first real exercise I did...walking with you, Leslie! Somehow a walk seemed less intimidating. 120 pounds down, I still revisit your videos when I can't go for a run or make it to kickboxing. I would like to know if you've ever considered having larger people in your videos to show that this is a workout that could be done by anyone at any fitness level.

Kathi B.: Where do you get the people who do your workouts on the DVDs with you? I really like Carl in one of them. He's so funny and you pick on him and he picks right back. Look like nice people.
LS: AIMEE & KATHI!!!! Thank you for the kind words and questions! I am so happy to hear you mention Carl! He was one of my fave walkers on the DVDs! It just so happens that he is married to Regina (also in the DVD Active Adults 2 Mile Walk. Regina is a BEAUTIFUL example of all sizes and shapes taking good care of her health!) I love your suggestion, Aimee. We so often show the ''afters'' of our walkers' journey. So many have transformed their health, and maybe we are due to show the many stages of an active life—all sizes, all ages. Thanks for reminding me!
From our early days of production to now, the process of casting the DVDs has really evolved. I am so happy that we work with the best fitness production companies and collaborate with our distributors to bring at-home walkers the BEST experience on video. Today, choosing the cast involves both recruiting from our Walk Fans (our Walk Leaders) and also from the fitness community.  Many of our walkers are also fitness professionals. We have had a children’s dance instructor, a kickboxing leader, and a Zumba instructor in the DVDs. We need ''all walks of life'' to give the best presentation!
8. Shundea A: How are the miles calculated in your different workouts (1, 2, 3, 4 mile walks, etc.)?
LS: LOVE the question, Shundea!  Our ''Steps to Miles'' system is based on the BPM’s (beats per minute) of the music!  We know that for an average stride, it takes about 140 bpm’s to equal a speed of 4 MPH (miles per hour). I engineer the music to average about 15 minutes of exercise to be 1 mile of exercise. It’s what makes our walks so effective--we keep you at a speed to get results!
9. Angela C.: What's your advice for a busy mom on how to stay motivated? Or rather get up off my butt and turn the DVR on?
LS: Angela! Did you know that even five minutes of brisk walking can impact your blood pressure, improve your mood, improve energy, carry nutrients to cells for healthy skin, hair and nails, communicate to core muscles for a trim tummy… shall I continue??? Would you put on your walking shoes this minute--lace up the kids, too--and give me just five minutes?!  Love to you, mom, and hug the kids for me!
10. Patty O.: I would like to know approximately the number of calories burned during some of your DVDs. I am currently doing the 4-mile workout. When you say these 4 miles will work off a meal, approximately how many calories per meal would you be referring to?
LS: Hi, Patty!! I love an opportunity to remind all health seekers to BURN MORE CALORIES--that really is the secret to a healthy life!  If we are only manipulating food to lose or maintain weight, it becomes so challenging. So, finding workouts that give the best calorie burn is important!  Calorie burn has many variables: age, weight, gender, fitness level, even medicines affect how we burn calories, and we all burn at different rates. HOWEVER, exercise science allows us to offer a range of calorie burn that is pretty close to what would be the ''actual'' amount of calories burned by the human body! 

All that said, you can expect to burn 100 to 125 calories per mile. (I believe our miles have more intensity, especially when using ''Walk Boosters''--our bands, hand weights, walk belt, etc.--so you can expect a higher calorie burn during our walks and even after the workout. There is continued muscle activity for hours after any challenging workout!)  If you burn about 400 to 500 calories in a 4-mile walk, I can promise you that you have made a big impact on the calories of a meal, and it will show up in weight loss or weight maintenance. Just keep walking, Patty… you’ll love the results!
11. Teri B.: How about exercises for active people with arthritic knees?
LS: Hi, Teri! Don’t ever give up seeking the exercise program that helps you to feel strong and pain-free, or at least relieved from the discomfort of achy joints!  Please, work with your doctors and other health professionals to find the best plan for you.  I am happy to be your Walking Coach but I am not a medical professional. I can say that science supports the fact that a regular physical activity routine is critical to how we will all live out our future days.

You are making an AMAZING choice to be active, even with a condition that challenges you! Ask your doctor about mild fitness walking combined with strength training. It's so important to keep muscles strong to support the joints; many report that conditioning muscles eases discomfort and can stop the progression of joint disease!  Keep seeking solutions to be an active person, Teri!
12. Kathi B.: I would love to get some of your workout clothes… love the black shirts that say ''Walk'' with pink lettering! Will you ever have a line of ''Walk at Home'' clothing?

Karen U.: When will the sparkly ''WALK'' shirts come out?
LS: LOL!!! Kathi & Karen, you are so precious!!!! See www.walkathome.com/store for some Walk Wear!
13. Christine L.: Any chance there will be a Leslie Sansone for Wii [or any other format other than DVDs]?
LS: Oh, Christine!! That would really be the point that my kids say, ''That’s enough, mom!!! Now you are walking on my Wii!!'' Thanks for the suggestion, sweetie … I am always up for some fun new ways to deliver a walk!
Thank you so much for answering our questions, Leslie! Get moving with Leslie's latest DVD, Walk It Off in 30 Days. You heard the woman--get out there (or in your living room) and walk! 

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PINKGLOW9 3/9/2019
thank you team wondering will sparks ever have workout videos again? Report
EVILCECIL 1/14/2019
Great workout, thanks. Report
MARYGOLD5 10/10/2018
I love the Leslie Sansone walking dvd's. Report
KHALIA2 8/27/2018
I love to walk outside up and down the steep hills in my neighborhood. Report
LEANJEAN6 8/11/2018
I love your workouts! Report
MIYAMO 8/9/2018
Excellent article. Leslie is the best. Report
I've been walking with Leslie for several years. Love to try the new routines as they come out. My current fave I do 5 times a week is the 3 mile with weights. Report
Thanks. Report
My co-workers and I do the dvds during our lunch hour. Get way to get your mind off of work. Report
Love the walks started them recently. Report
Loved all the ideas!!! Report
I love Leslie! Report
Used to do these videos years ago and she's right, definitely more than just a walk around the block. Nice to see she's still innovating and I'm in luck the local library has some of her newer stuff. Report
These are good questions with even better answers Report
Great article - thanks Report
I have had severe RA since age 6 and it has caused so much damage -5 joint replacements with one failed so that my right arm is four inches shorter and not allowed to lift anything. I have also had four foot surgeries and they are really messed up so bad I have tape and foam cushions all over them. I am in constant pain, but walking is my go to exercise and is what helps me keep the weight off the best. Long winters, icy streets and no transportation means I do a lot of at home workouts. My mini gym includes an elliptical, swiss ball, step, hula hoop, yoga mat, resistance bands and dumbbells. Exercise always makes me feel better, no question. If I can do it so can you! Report
to 85andcounting your symptoms sound very similar to my own last summer. Crushing fatigue, insomnia, digestive issues with protruding stomach, pain. I also had symptoms of neuropathy. This was after some very stressful events had occurred in my life. I had stopped using the walk at home dvds because of the above ailments and I was exhausted. I also have decreasing bone density and issues with rapidly deteriorating vision. I went to my regular physician for blood work but he really wasn't really able to give me answers for all my issues. I went to my eye doctor who was shocked at my vision change. After being left in the dark about what to do I decided to try acupuncture. Western medicine has it's place but I don't like that it tends to treat symptoms and not always look deeper into underlying causes. I found someone board certified in acupuncture and knowledge of Chinese medicine/herbs. She was able to get to the root cause of my health issues. Mine were related to issues with digestion and specific organs that were not functioning properly. She was able to pinpoint some extreme food allergies I was having and also was able to use acupuncture points to relieve my pain. I lost 25 pounds and much of the belly issue. My digestion and other organs are functioning better with the help of herbs and nutrients she is having me take. I have only recently started going back to Leslie's DVDs now that I have my energy again (the 25 pound weight loss was related to my organs and digestion functioning better and pinpointing the food sensitivity). I'm sleeping better! That is huge for so much. I don't know what area you live in but where I am there are Uber's and taxis if you need a ride to and from appointments. I usually don't respond to comments but you sound like where I was last summer and I feel so much better. My vision has stabilized also. Worth a try just remember find someone who is board certified so they have the right amount of training. Best of luck to you. Report
to 85andcounting~ one that I used when I hurt my back really bad but still wanted to work out was, Leslie Sansone - Older Adults Walk & Firm... it was an easier workout for the range of motion i was able to use while injured... she also has, Leslie Sansone for Seniors - Walk Aerobics. I borrowed the one dvd from the library to make sure i could do it before i bought it... Report
I own one of her DVDs, I just need to start using it Report
Hi Guys!
From my point of views Treadmill is always great to walk and running in any season also best one for home and it makes the mood for running with speedier rather than foot way. Although best equipment for fitness and weight loss. and just not only running diet control also equally important to be fittest I think so.
You guys can check out http://treadmillreviewzblog.com/pho
/ to find out what is latest on Treadmill.
To 85andcounting - I have really bad plantars fasciitis. I love Leslie's workouts but some days I cannot walk. but I need to work out! So I do seated work outs. Spark People has a short seated work out in one of their videos and you can also order videos. The ones I like are Chair Salsa with David Stamps, Jodi Stolove's Chair Dancing and Chair Aerobics for Everyone. Basically I cycle through those three videos when I can't do a Leslie Sansone walk. So I have 6 DVDs - 3 of Leslie's and the 3 seated workouts.

Another thing you might try that has helped some people who are unable to walk - water aerobics. I have elderly friends who have found that since the water helps to support their bodies they are able to walk with less pain.

Anyway, I really wish you the best. It is important to stay as active as you can. You may also want to see a nutritionist to see if there are supplements you can take - I have read that fish oil is supposed to be good for arthritis pain, for example. But check with a professional. Report
What about an 85 year old lady who has had NO health problems until suddenly many appeared seemingly due to the stress of moving from my home of 33 years to a totally new venue with only one daughter and her family known to me? I most recently lost the vision in one eye and am experiencing poorer vision in the other eye! Plus extreme pain on walking, hypothyroidism, osteoporosis, redistribution of fat so that I look like I am 7 months pregnant (!) crushing fatigue, major constipation and major insomnia.
I WAS doing the "Two Miles Walk Away The Pounds" disk - not to lose weight but to be fit but I can't walk now! Report
Leslie is the sanity for a beginner in exercising. I have had trouble with other cardio DVD's because they seem to assume everyone is starting from being moderately active. Leslie's workouts are great for those of us who've been inactive and need to start somewhere. Thank you, Leslie, (if you read this) for giving me a starting point. Report
Sometimes I've gotten my hubby to join me in WATP. We end up laughing a lot and he adds a little silliness to his moves. He's my walking partner, too. Thanks, Leslie, for the motivation and faith-filled optimism you bring to a workout routine. \o/ Report
I love Leslie Sansone's DVDs. I have like 3 or 4 of them and workout with her about every other day! WooHoo!! Report
Wonderful Chat Report
I love your workouts, especially right now because I bruised my knee bone and can't do anything real high impact. Report
i love ur videos me and my co worker walk every morning at work, we sit all day so its nice to have something to keep us active Report
Leslie got my mom and I are walking in 2003 and I have not stopped yet.I am a big fan. Report
I love walking with Leslie! Report
I love Leslie and her videos. They are a life saver, for real. I would get so frustrated with other workout videos that I tried. I felt like an utter failure when I couldn't follow the complicated moves, got too winded and had to stop to catch my breath and couldn't make it to the end of a workout. NOBODY had ever told me to go at my own pace, that it's okay to start where you are and only do as much as you can. That it's okay to slow it down, pause, or only do 5-10 minutes until you are stronger and more fit. UNTIL Leslie. She motivated me, encouraged me and made me feel like a success even if I was slow and couldn't do an entire mile. Not to mention the steps were so easy. I didn't have to put all my effort into nailing them just right. I could just walk and it was fun. Now I find myself making my own little routines up while reading, watching TV or listening to music. WALKing with Leslie or on my own is just part of me now and I couldn't possibly thank her enough. God bless you Leslie Sansone. I'm sure Jesus will have many crowns for you in heaven for all of the lives you've touched and improved. I've lost 40 lbs total, was up to 58 down, but due to a fractured patella and surgery to repair the damage my weight has crept back up. Now that I can walk again it's time to start back up with Leslie and gradually improve my fitness and lose some weight. Report
Leslie, my sister Deetzah, loves you!!!!!!!! Thanks to her, I do your walks all the time. You are a very inspirational person! Thank you for all you do! Report
Hello everyone, my name is Doug and I am from Oregon . My ex wife introduced me to Leslie and WATP back in 03 and I lost 15 pounds before I had to stop due to tendinitis in my feet . After that , the walking and weight loss went by the way side until early last year when I got fed up wit not fitting into clothes and not feeling good in general so I started back with Leslie and Weight Watchers Online . I kept at it until a few months ago when my feet started hurting again and I had to stop so of course the pounds came back on and where I had lost almost 30 I put back 15 and my clothes got tight again and my health waned again and guess what ? I got fed up and started again last month both with WWO and Leslie and haven't turned back yet and don't plan to . I am almost back to the original 30 pounds down that I was before. It has helped that I finally forced myself to stop walking in my socks and am now wearing shoes . I have had no problems with my feet .

I have been using Leslies FB page and the walk social page for support and will now be coming here as well looking forward to getting to know others Report
I really owe my health and fitness level to Leslie Sansone! I will always be grateful that at 372 pounds I was able to begin exercise because of her four basic steps. Grant it I was not able to do the arms in the beginning but I kept at it! Now I am at such at great fitness level, I have great endurance, and I owe it all to Leslie and my gastric bypass surgeon. I can now jog, do the stair master, the arc trainer, weights, etc. I'm usually at the gym for 2 hours not out of torture or obligation but because I love fitness. I apply breathing techniques and body positioning techniques that I learned in Leslie's DVDs to my gym workouts. And I still do Leslie's DVDs twice a week. I am forever grateful to Leslie! Thank you Leslie! Report
Love love love you Leslie!!! Report
Thank you Coach Nicole and Leslie Sansone! I have many of your videos and have gotten many of my major questions answered. I always felt I burned more doing the videos than on Spark Fitness Tracker. It's good to know I've been burning more. No complaints on the tracker about the calories. :) I appreciate your time...both of you! Blessings! Report
For Teri B- I have arthritic knees and my doctor told me to stop walking so much. I took to the pool and swim laps (I am a former swimmer who took a 25 year break from swimming- you know, motherhood and work and all that.) If you have a pool available to you try swimming or water walking. My pool has a lot of water walkers. You and your knees will love it. I still walk outdoors because it makes me happy but I walk less and swim more. Good luck. Report
I really love the Leslie DVDs but now I have advanced past them so I am really looking forward to checking out this new one with HIIT to see if it works for me. During the winter months especially when I can't get out as much, I would love to just throw in a 30 minute DVD and get my workout done! Report
I absolutely LOVE Leslie's DVDs and use them at least four times a week. Report
I really love doing Leslie's DVDs. I'm a newbie, but I find myself looking forward to my next walking session because they feel invigorating. Report
I love Leslie Sansone workouts.
I take care of 2 little girls ages 22 months and 3. They walk right along beside me.
Once I started to put a kid program on and the 22 month old shook her head no and pointed to the Leslie Sansone DVD and said "walk, walk, walk."
Their mothers laugh every time they pick the girls up and we happen to be
"walk, walk, walking"
Maybe they need to make their own kiddie exercise DVD!
How do I email about my inconitence problem when I'm running on the treadmill? Report
I love Leslie! I especially love that she emphasizes that "you can't do it wrong," and "it's the pace that gets you fit, NOT the steps." I am not coordinated at all and have bought so many DVDs over the years that I gave up on because the moves were just too complicated and "dancy." I can always count on Leslie for a great workout! I encourage anyone who thinks they can't exercise to give her DVDs a try--if you can walk, you can do a Leslie DVD! Report
As a person with Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces), going outside to take a simple walk is out of the question. Because of that, the weight piled on over the years. I'm 45 now and want to be as healthy as I can be.

I love Leslie's videos. I too, have videos that go back to VHS! I like doing a 3 mile walk from one DVD and another 4 mile walk from another DVD. Leslie, you're a life saver! Love ya! Report
Thank you for introducing me to Leslie! I have found some of her videos on You Tube and downloaded some of them and did one today as it looked like chucking it down with rain, and much enjoyed it. This will be good for when I dont feel like doing anything more strenuous, so may well be an alternative to doing nothing..
I love Leslie!! Her DVD's make up the bulk of my exercise routine. I try to rotate through a few of my current favorites each week so that it stays interesting.

I do not like to exercise, and getting up early in the morning to head to the gym does not appeal to me. And after work? It's just not happening. So with Leslie all I have to do is crawl out of bed, put on my workout clothes, and walk to the living room. I can handle that.

I know some people say that her workouts aren't intense enough for them, but I find them to be good workouts, I work up a good sweat, & I've lost 49 lbs in the last 6 months using her DVD's. So I am more than satisfied! Report
I love Leslie Sansone. I have several of her DVDs. They are fun and very easy to do. I have knee problems, so I do the one mile "Walk Away The Pounds". It is only 20 minutes long and very easy. I just realized I have been doing this since we had a VCR. Then I got the same ones on DVDs. Report
I love Leslie! I don't like walking outside when it is too hot or raining or icy and her walking programs are the perfect back up plan. I have the 30 day program she talks about here and it is what gave me the courage to start working with weights. I do the Firm 30 twice a week now.

If you don't want DVDs she also has Walk TV. I have a 4 mile walk through that on my iPhone so I can work out in my hotel room when I am traveling for work. Report