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 Days. This 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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