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22 February 2013

Use the sidewalk as a treadmill

People who believe a healthy lifestyle is expensive should speak to a US man who lost 113.3 kg using the city's sidewalks as his treadmill.

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People who believe a healthy lifestyle is expensive should speak to "Papa" Joe Aviance, a Los-Angeles man who lost 113.3 kg using the city's sidewalks as his treadmill, its parks as his gym and a discount store as his health food destination.

The formerly 204 kg Aviance said he owes his now fit 90.7 kg body to walking eight km a day, every day around his inner-city Los Angeles neighborhood."I thought, 'What's the easiest exercise I can do? I can't afford the gym, so I'll use the street,'" said Aviance, who was unemployed when he began his fitness regime in 2011.

"I like to say the sidewalk is my treadmill."He swapped his junk food for vegetables and trail mix, purchased mostly from a discount shop, and laced up his walking shoes. At first, drenched in sweat, he barely made it around the block, despite the motivating fast-paced dance music blasting from his headphones.

Weekly fitness program

Each day he went a little farther. Five miles, or 10 000 steps, a day is a goal for most healthy adults walking for activity, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Michele Stanton, a fitness instructor and author of "Walk Off Weight," said to reap the full benefits of walking you need to maintain a brisk pace, defined by ACSM as three-to-four miles (4.8 to 6.4 kilometers) an hour.

"That's not your window-shopping pace," said Stanton, who is based in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania. "At about 4.8 kilometres per hour a rough kilojoule burn estimate is 420 kilojoules per mile."Stanton said that once a walker hits 6.4 kilometres per hour the burn picks up.

"After eight kilometers per hour walking becomes harder than running," she said.Because walking carries a lot less risk for injury than high-impact activity, it is ideal for high-risk populations, sedentary and overweight people, even if their long-term goal is to run, she said.

Benefits of walking in the comfort of your own home

Even walking in the living room has benefits. "There was a 2012 study that had people step in place during the commercial breaks of a TV show," Stanton said. Over the hour, they took about 2 000 steps and burned some 621.6 kilojoules. Pennsylvania-based fitness expert Leslie Sansone has been creating "walk at home" programmes for 25 years.

Her latest DVD is "Just Walk: Belly Blasting Walk""I owned a fitness center in the 1980s, and I wanted to get the walkers to come inside," she said. "So we started walk aerobics. It struck a nerve. "Sansone said where you walk changes the fitness experience.

"If you're outdoors walking in the wind and up and down curves and hills, you're going to react in a different way than if you're on a treadmill, where you can pump up the pace," she said. Indoors, Sansone uses music to set the pace.

"If they keep a pace, it doesn't matter what the movement is, they're going to gain fitness," she said, adding that she would rather see people increase intensity than time."It's that hurry-up pace that gets you around the 15-minute mile," Sansone said.

"That's the cardio goal for health and weight loss."Sansone said most of her clients are women, but lately more men and teenagers are picking up the pace. These days, Aviance practically dances his route, regularly pausing for a set of push-ups in the park and encouraging onlookers to follow his footsteps.

"I've got about five kids that I've helped," said Aviance, who has become a neighborhood advocate for health and wellness. "And all people I see on street who ask me what I'm up to."

Reuters

 

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