Heart & Sole - The Blog

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Walk 15 Live Streaming Classes Now Available!

posted Mar 27, 2020, 3:59 PM by Walk Strong Calgary

I'm very excited to announce that Walk 15 HQ has lifted the contractual restriction on their instructor base regarding Live Streaming Walk 15 classes! For a limited time, this special consideration allows me to move my classes to a virtual environment, which means YOU can WALK with me from your living room! You can continue to limit exposure to COVID-19 and stay fit and healthy!

If you've been following me on social media and wish there was a way for you to participate in my classes, this is your chance! Live streaming  is a great way to experience this format in the comfort of your own home and/or continue WALKing with me if you're an avid 'Walk 15er' already. Starting on Monday, March 30 and for a minimum of 2 months, I will be teaching live classes online as follows:

Mondays 9:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Wednesdays 6:30 p.m.
Fridays 10:00 a.m. - Move & Groove - BONUS CLASS!
Saturdays 9:00 a.m.
All times Mountain
(above schedule subject to change, including surprise 'pop-up' classes!)

Cost: 
Option 1:  Pay month to month -  Unlimited Classes $80/month (regular price $104/month) 
Note:  March 30 is a BONUS!
Option 2 
(SAVE!):  April & May -  Unlimited Classes just  $125 (must be paid up front) 
Payment may be made via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to walkstrongcalgary@gmail.com
(E-mail for question and password instructions)

Don't do online banking? E-mail me for other payment options (note: admin fees may apply)

How to Register:
1. Please read the Exercise Release Agreement and Waiver of Liability below. 
2. E-mail 
walkstrongcalgary@gmail.com - include first & last name, whether you've selected Option 1 or Option 2, and include the following statement:  "I have read the release and waiver of liability and fully understand its contents. I voluntarily agree to the terms and conditions stated therein."
3. Complete the EFT as above, due upon registration.

How to Join the Live Streaming Sessions:  
1. Go to https://www.zoom.us and set up an account (free)
2.  Upon receipt of payment, you will receive confirmation containing links/passwords to the sessions (including the test session - see below).
3.  Please log onto each session at least 5 minutes prior to session start. 

BONUS SESSIONS - Follow me on Facebook (
Walk Strong Calgary) - I will be doing some Facebook Live workouts throughout the months of April and May - watch for details on time and dates as they become available - you'll need to catch these when they happen!

Let's WALK Together! Together... We ARE Stronger!
Nancy Ehle
Founder & CEO, Witness 4 Fitness
Walk 15 Instructor, Master Level
-----------------------------------------------------
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:
EXERCISE RELEASE AGREEMENT AND WAIVER OF LIABILITY


I hereby warrant, represent and state that I am in good health and that I have no disability, impairment or ailment that will prevent me from engaging in active or passive exercise or that will be detrimental or inimical to health, safety, comfort or physical condition. I hereby indemnify and hold harmless the Staff and Management of Witness 4 Fitness/Walk Strong Calgary and Walk 15® from any condition including physical injury, damage, loss or other liability arising out of any passive or active exercise in which I engage through the auspices of Witness 4 Fitness/Walk Strong Calgary and Walk 15® regardless of degree of responsibility or negligence. I further and specifically agree, on behalf of myself and all respective heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns,  that neither the Walk 15® Instructor, staff and management of Witness 4 Fitness/Walk Strong Calgary or Walk 15® shall be liable for any claim, demand, or cause of action of any kind resulting either directly or indirectly from or related to my participation in this program, whether any such loss, damage, or physical injury may be caused by negligence or in any other manner whatsoever and I agree to hold the Walk 15® Instructor, Witness 4 Fitness/Walk Strong Calgary and Walk 15® harmless from the same. 

From the Desk of Our Founder & CEO

posted Mar 15, 2020, 10:59 AM by Walk Strong Calgary

My Dear Friends and Avid Walkers,

I worked for a Class 1 railroad here in Canada for over 15 years and was on duty in our 24-hour operations centre the morning of 9/11. I can still remember the heightened sense of urgency, the tension, the intense focus of all of the managers as the situation evolved that morning. A war room was set up down the hall from my desk for departmental heads and other executives to gather and monitor the situation - a large-screen TV was set up in there with a continuous news feed, and my supervisor in the cubicle adjacent to mine was on the phone trying to account for staff members in the USA, one of whom happened to be a member our our administrative team who was on vacation. Oh the RELIEF when she called in to report that she was safe! I still get chills and well up with tears when I look back and remember one thing that really stood out through it all... I saw people banding together like a closely-knit family looking out for each other, supporting each other, hugging each other. It was an amazing feeling. 

In this current situation, while some things feel similar, it's very, very different. The aggressive preparedness worldwide... the sense of how real and close to home this is... is palpable. Even the flood here in 2013 was not like this. Seeing video footage of shelves in grocery stores empty, the aisles in disarray with items on the floor, lineups longer than I've ever seen... It's hard NOT to get caught up in the sense of urgency, anxiety... and in some cases... panic... if you're watching the news feeds and seeing people fighting in the aisles. 

In my local grocery store, the situation Thursday was much as described above (minus the panic and fighting) and I was impressed... so very impressed... and touched... by how patient everyone was. There was no shouting, no pushing and shoving. On the contrary - I saw total strangers smiling at each other as they made room for people to pass through their line to get to the next aisle. People said "Please" and "Thank you" and "Can I help you with that?" A man bumped into my cart and immediately turned around and said, "I'm so sorry!" We exchanged pleasantries and went our separate ways.  Even the staff were smiling, calm, helpful, and efficient - the lines were moving much more quickly than I expected. 

We ARE going to get through this. A year from now, we'll look back and say, "Wow. That was a wild ride!" In the meantime, I encourage you to keep things in perspective. At the time of this writing, there are 39
confirmed cases in Alberta, a province of 4,345,737 people. While this virus spreads incredibly easily and fast, most people recover relatively quickly (healthy folks with no pre-existing risk factors), and they DO recover. Some experience only mild symptoms. While I'd hate to see any of you contract the virus in the first place, the more vulnerable people are the ones we need to watch out for and protect with due diligence, which means taking sensible precautions to prevent the spread (I just glanced up and saw a plane fly overhead and couldn't help but wonder where it's headed... how many passengers are on board... and are any of them carriers...). Folks with compromised immune systems or who tend to be susceptible to respiratory problems and/or infections are definitely higher risk, along with our beautiful Seniors. Symptoms will vary in severity from individual to individual. Remember, most do recover, but let's stop this thing in its tracks. Some tips:

1. Check the following sites for updates on the situation:  Alberta Health Services - COVID-19   Alberta.ca
2. Use this Self-Assessment Tool to help determine whether or not you should be tested, and remember, at this time, Alberta Health Services reiterates that you do NOT need testing if in the past 14 days you have not been outside the country and/or have not been in contact with someone who has or who has been diagnosed.  
3. Keep scrolling. The more posts you read on Social Media about COVID-19, the more anxious and stressed you may feel. Scroll by the posts about the virus. Check for updates once a day using one of the above sources. 
4. Eat your fruits and veg - these help build immunity! 
5. Do something every day that brings you joy! 
6. Keep up your exercise! A walk in the park can do wonders for you physically and mentally.
7. Do some breathing exercises daily (see my post on Facebook). 
8. Wash your hands often and self-isolate as much as you can and/or keep your distance from people. I just might start walking to and from work to avoid crowded buses - extra steps for me - Yay! (2 1/4 miles one way).
9. Stay connected. Continue to reach out to people daily, whether that's by phone, text, e-mail for video chats.  
10. Focus on the positives. We have a beautiful sunny morning here in Calgary, and after a bitterly cold day yesterday, that put a smile on my face when I opened my drapes earlier!

I was overwhelmed with emotion a couple of days ago when I saw a video from Italy of people out on their balconies singing as a sign of solidarity during the country's lock down. I have a friend who lives in the region and she wrote about it on her daily blog. Regarding the lock down itself, she said everyone was very calm about it. I love the idea of people uniting through music!!! If anything good were to come out of this situation, I hope that it brings people of the world closer together. We. Are. One. Race. The human race. Be kind. Be patient. Show love. Sing your song. Play your lyre. Spread your joy.

Keep walking strong out there my lovely Walkers!
Much love,
Nancy Ehle
Founder & CEO
Witness 4 Fitness
WalkStrongCalgary@gmail.com
403-354-4905
(no soliciting calls or e-mails, please)




Wanna GO for a WALK? Try the Walk 15® Way!

posted Sep 17, 2019, 6:36 PM by Walk Strong Calgary

Your body was designed to walk. At the basic level, a regular walk involves linear and rotary motion as part of the natural gait cycle. It also involves heel strike, which causes impact with the ground that travels back up the body as a result of ground-reaction forces. This impact is actually VERY good for the body, causing bones to lay down new tissue. Your arms swing naturally forward and back (flexion and extension of the shoulders). Love your outdoor (or treadmill) walks? I want you to KEEP DOING THEM!

The thing with our regular walking is that we use the same muscles in the same way throughout the activity (for the most part) in a single plane of motion (sagittal). You can increase the intensity by picking up speed, going uphill or even by carrying light hand weights. The number of muscles used, however, is limited because you're in the same plane of motion the entire time. But... what if... there was a different way to WALK? One that utilizes every major muscle group in the body?

In a Walk 15® class, we incorporate a variety of different exercises across all 3 planes of motion: Sagittal (divides the body into left and right halves), Frontal (front and back halves), and Transverse (top and bottom halves). When you move a limb or limbs parallel to a plane, that's the plane you're in. For example: keeping your arms straight, raise them forward in front of you to shoulder height and lower them back down. Your arms were moving parallel to the invisible sagittal plane (imagine a pane of clear glass dividing your body into left and right halves as in the diagram - image courtesy acefitess.org). Similarly, if you were to raise your arms to the side (shoulder abduction) until level with your shoulders and move them back down (shoulder adduction), your arms sweep along the frontal plane and are therefore in that plane of motion. The transverse plane gets into ... well... your 'love handles!' LOL! When you twist your torso gently to either side, you're engaging the internal and external obliques (often referred to as your rotators) in your waistline, moving in the transverse plane.

In class, we start off with a basic WALK in place, which is similar to our outdoor walk in that we're in the same plane of motion, using the same muscles, but in a different way... We've taken forward momentum out of the picture and your feet are not stepping forward and ending up behind you. We've also eliminated heel strike. Stand up and walk in place - you'll notice that the heels of your feet do not initiate contact with the floor as they do on an outdoor walk - you're likely doing more ball to heel rather than heel to toe, depending on your stance. Your feet are moving up and down only - they don't move behind the body as they do during your regular walks. You're still using your hip flexors (psoas group) in the front and extensors (glutes - aka, your sweet hind end) at the back, the knee flexors and extensors (hamstrings and quadriceps), and there is still a certain degree of dorsiflexion and plantar flexion at the ankles. Your centre of gravity remains fairly constant in this first (and core) move in Walk 15® compared to an outdoor walk, wherein centre of gravity is naturally changing as you move forward. Now wait a minute... it sounds like we've taken a lot away from the walk... how is this more effective than an outdoor walk? This... is where the fun begins!

above image courtesy WalkatHome.com

Walking is our safety move in a Walk 15® class. Any time you like, go back to a walk in place. There are three other basic moves that utilize additional muscle across other planes. A side-step, for example, involves abduction and adduction of the hips, taking the body into lateral motion in the frontal plane. This uses under-trained muscle... how often do you do side steps in your daily activities? Next are knee lifts, which begin in the sagittal plane... until we open the feet up a bit and add 'contralateral movement' by involving the opposite arm, which moves across the body to touch the opposite knee (now moving on a slight angle toward the midline of the body). Any time you move a limb across the midline, you're into the transverse plane, activating those lovely rotators in the waistline... [love handles!]. Kicks are the 4th basic move in Walk 15®, utilizing the same muscles as a knee lift, but in a slightly different way in the sagittal plane. We again add contralateral movement by reaching forward (or up) with the opposite arm and can get into the transverse plane simply by moving the arm and leg across the midline of the body [more love handle action!].

These are just some basic examples of exercises we use in class - add double side-steps, grapevines, heel digs (with and without rotation), tap outs (basic, then turn to the side with a lunge), tap backs, hamstring curls, various arm moves (taking the arms and shoulders through a full range of motion)... with and without hand weights or resistance bands... and don't forget that we combine many of these moves and more along the way... This is what we call a 'Total Body Walk!' Trust me, your muscles will never know what's coming next!

The results over time speak for themselves: better overall muscle toning (toned muscle keeps your metabolism high!), higher calorie burn, wider range of motion of all major joints, increased lung capacity, higher endurance, stronger heart, lower blood pressure, lower resting heart rate, reduction in body fat, and much, MUCH more! All of this is done to fabulously fun music paced for an average 15-minute mile (a brisk 4 mph), but remember, you control the intensity at all times by how large or small you make the moves. If you can WALK, you can do this class!

WALK Concert, Pittsburgh, PA - image courtesy WalkatHome.com

Have I given you information overload? Not to worry! You don't need to remember any of this to participate - all you need to do in class is FOLLOW ME and do what I do! You won't have to think about what comes next or which muscles you're using in which plane. Just enjoy the workout and the great music! Come take a WALK with me the Walk 15® way!


Nancy Ehle is Founder & CEO or Witness 4 Fitness in Calgary, Alberta Canada. The Walk Strong Calgary division of her company features her specialty - Walk 15® Group Fitness Classes for all ages, all body shapes & sizes, all fitness levels. Nancy is certified at the Master Level in the program and is also certified through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as a Group Fitness Instructor. Her other certifications include Health Coach and basic Pilates, and she holds numerous course credits through ACE and other accredited organizations such as IDEAFIT.com and FitOur.com. Follow Nancy on Facebook:  facebook.com/WalkStrongCalgary 

Proper Walking Technique - Engage those Muscles!

posted Jan 20, 2019, 3:20 PM by Walk Strong Calgary

Since we're tracking our fitness walking (running counts, too!) miles this year, let's take a look at proper walking technique. Walking is very natural, however, if not done with good form, you may hinder nutrient delivery to the discs in the spine let alone potentially throwing things out of alignment, resulting in ongoing pain. Done well, a good brisk walk will engage muscles efficiently, resulting in better outcomes for your health!

1. Walk with a 'Spring in Your Step'
You've likely heard of walking 'with a spring in your step' - this should happen naturally during your gait cycle as you push off with your toes, resulting in your head and shoulders moving up and down as you walk. But have you ever noticed that some people 'glide' (i.e, they don't bop up and down at all) when they walk? This is the result of a shorter stride that doesn't engage the toes. Did you know that the toes play a critical role in walking? Beyond balance, they also turn muscles on and off.

2. Walk with a Long Stride Length
Stride length is very important - a longer stride engages your leg muscles (quads in particular) and your glutes, while a short stride length does not. Try placing your hands on your sweet hind end and walk across the room, taking very small steps - you won't feel much happening in your gluteal muscles (if anything at all). Now do it again taking long strides, pushing off with your toes - feel the difference? Whoa! If you're walking for fitness, you definitely want those muscles engaged - they're your powerful walking muscles and a longer stride will strengthen them. You'll burn more calories during your walk, too, due to more muscle engagement.

3. Pay Attention to Leg and Feet Position
Got tight IT bands (outer thigh)? You might be walking with your legs too far apart, resulting in a muscle imbalance - tight muscles on the outer thigh, weaker muscles on the inner thigh. Walk with your legs relatively close together, and point your toes forward (many people walk with toes pointed out, a possible indicator of tight external hip rotators). Focus on keeping your toes forward and you'll be a better runner!

These are just three tips to a stronger, healthier and more efficient outdoor walk. Of course, you also want to keep your eyes forward, chin parallel to the ground as you walk, which helps keep your head in line with your spine. If you have a tendency to walk with your chin tucked toward your chest, eyes on the ground, your body will gradually adapt to that position, and you may begin to notice that it's getting harder to lift your head up to look at the top shelf of your cupboards or in the grocery store. Put your mind to your walk and make it a 'body awareness' exercise! Walk Strong out there!

Nancy Ehle is Founder & CEO of Witness 4 Fitness, located in Calgary, Alberta Canada. As a Master Walk 15® Instructor (Leslie Sansone Walk at Home) and certified Group Fitness Instructor (American Council on Excercise), Nancy is leading people of all ages and all walks of life to better health through fitness programs that literally anyone can do. Her signature certification is the Walk 15® program, which uses walking as its core move, and features low-impact aerobics paced to music that measures miles through the beat. Her enthusiasm is contagious, her energy abundant! Visit Class Times, Location & Cost for a class near you! Follow Nancy on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/walkstrongcalgary.

Taking Success 'One Step at a Time' - Literally...

posted Nov 7, 2018, 9:11 AM by Walk Strong Calgary

Success in your health journey starts with a single step. Walk Strong Calgary (a division of Witness 4 Fitness) is committed to helping you reach your fitness goals through walking-based group exercise programs... we take the phrase 'one step at a time' literally!

Many people are very uncomfortable with the thought of working out in front of others, for various reasons. I actually used to be very self-conscious when it came to exercising in public. I would run early in the mornings so there was less chance of anyone seeing me. The thought of exercising in a group... was very intimidating. What if I was the only one who didn't know the moves? What if I couldn't keep up? What if I didn't wear the right clothes? What if... I couldn't do it? What if I was so uncoordinated that I throw others off? What if... What if... What if... The beauty of my classes is that if you feel that way, too... I've BEEN THERE and I understand!

What worked for me was when I discovered the Walk at Home DVDs - I could work out in front of my TV where no one could see me (I used to close the drapes to make sure)! In no time I felt more confident as I learned the moves and figured out the coordination. There were times I would walk right up to the TV and say, "Leslie! How are you doing that?" - it's true! LOL! I came to love the program so much that I soon longed to teach others this great mode of exercise... and was certified as a Master Level Walk 15® Instructor. Today, I throw the drapes and the curtains open wide and hope neighbors will ask me what I've been doing in my living room for exercise... 'cause I wanna share this program with them!

From the moment the music starts in my class, I promise you, you'll feel part of the group because we all WALK to the beat! If you want to WALK through the whole class, you CAN! You can't do it wrong! There is no perfection expected... trust me, I'm not perfect either - "Oops, did I just say 'double' and I'm doing a single again?" (note the word 'again...' lol!) We don't focus on getting things exactly right - we focus on executing well, which you learn in time. Working out to music is very helpful because rhythm will help with your timing - it also makes the class seem to go by faster! In addition, I'm trained to help you figure out things such as getting the opposing limbs to work together, and if you do struggle with coordination, I can help you after class if needed - you don't get that kind of feedback and help from a DVD! So grab a pair of clean, dry fitness shoes, a water bottle, wear any clothing that's comfortable and non-restrictive, come on out and try a class!

Nancy Ehle is a Master Level Walk 15® Instructor certified through Walk at Home® as well as a Group Fitness Instructor through the American Council on Exercise (ACE). She also holds several specialties, including Menopause and Exercise, Postural Assessments, and more. Nancy's enthusiasm is contagious! Her encouraging nature is perfect for group exercise, and her love of music is a bonus - music selection is always upbeat and motivating... you may just find yourself singing along!

Self Care with Matthew Miller of NowFeelGood.com

posted Sep 23, 2018, 6:39 PM by Walk Strong Calgary   [ updated Sep 23, 2018, 6:41 PM ]

What an honor and a pleasure to have Matthew Miller, MSW RSW give a presentation to kick off our Fall classes at Woodcreek Community Association! Matthew provides counselling and therapy services to individuals, families and groups on a variety of life issues. For more information on Matthew's practice and to book a free 30-minute consultation, visit: nowfeelgood.com.  His talk was very informative and you can take it in below. Enjoy!

 

Over Stressed about being Overweight?

posted Sep 2, 2018, 1:40 PM by Walk Strong Calgary   [ updated Sep 2, 2018, 1:55 PM ]

Are you stressing about being overweight? Whether it's 10 lbs or 50+, many women feel ashamed of their bodies, and those feelings can hinder you from joining a fitness class.

"What if people come down on me because of my weight?"
"What if I'm the only one who doesn't know the moves?"
"I can't stand the way my clothes look on me - what will others think?"
"What if I can't handle it? I can hardly make it up the stairs."

If these kinds of thoughts and feelings of inadequacy are holding you back from trying group exercise, I'd like to encourage you to give me a call (see 'Contact Us') and let's talk about what a Walk 15® class entails. Sometimes getting to know a bit about your instructor beforehand can help build your confidence. It might surprise you to know, for example, that one of the reasons I never tried group fitness before my mid-forties was that I felt very insecure about how I looked and whether or not I'd be able to do the moves, and I had no idea what to wear to 'fit in...' and coordination is actually something with which many people struggle... myself included!

I love teaching Walk 15® in the community because I find that people are generally more comfortable in a community hall than they are in a health club setting. It's less intimidating, and something about the environment seems to take the pressure off. I always encourage people to do what they can in class, and if you keep the moves small, you might be surprised at how well you do! You never, ever have to follow perfectly, so if you go back to a walk when you need a couple of minutes of recovery, that's exactly the right thing to do!

As far as what to wear, really, as long as you've got the proper footwear (clean/dry walking or running shoes) and are wearing clothing that's comfortable for you and doesn't restrict movement, pretty much anything goes! Tee shirt, tank, sweatshirt, sweatpants, yoga pants, shorts - I've even had someone come in blue jeans, and in a corporate setting, someone came in a skirt once because she left her workout clothes at home. I once led a class in my business clothes - dress pants and blouse - because I forgot my workout gear!

It can also be comforting to know that no one in my classes (myself included) has 'the perfect body.' We come in various body shapes and sizes and at different levels of fitness. Everyone is welcome! As well, one of the great things about these classes is that if you can WALK, you can do it - the music starts and everyone in the room walks in place to the beat of the music until I give further direction - no one stands out and you feel an element of success immediately!

Try a Walk 15® class this week - you'll be glad you did! See Class Times, Locations & Cost for current class locations.

Nancy Ehle is Founder & CEO of Witness 4 Fitness located in Calgary, Alberta. Her industry certifications include Master Walk 15® Instructor (her specialty) through Walk 15®, Group Fitness Instructor through the American Council on Exercise (ACE), Health Coach, Indoor Cycling, and Pilates. Nancy has also taken many continuing education courses throughout her career, which currently spans 6.5 years. An encourager by nature, you'll find her upbeat attitude and energy infectious! Follow Nancy on Facebook: facebook.com/WalkStrongCalgary

When the Going Gets Tough

posted Aug 25, 2018, 1:59 PM by Walk Strong Calgary   [ updated Aug 25, 2018, 2:41 PM ]

As a Fitness Instructor, one of the most important goals I've set personally is to cultivate a safe environment for my participants. Feeling safe is a basic human need, and my desire is to know that people feel accepted unconditionally when they walk in the door, regardless of who they are, what kind of day they've had, or whether or not they're sticking to their goals. There is no judgment or comparison. I've had people tell me that they look forward to my classes because they always know they will be met with a smile... and sometimes that's the only genuine smile they've seen all day. As a health coach as well as an instructor, I'm also always willing to stay and chat after class if there is a need. Listening is a skill that seems to be lacking in today's society, but I understand how important it is for individuals to be able to express themselves at times and feel they're being heard and understood. They may not be looking for a solution to their problem... just someone who will let them talk about it openly - someone with whom they feel safe.

Sometimes things happen in your life, however, wherein the atmosphere of a class environment can't meet a much deeper need, as good as you feel when you attend. Life can be very stressful, and many of us face things such as ongoing anxiety, depression, struggles in a marriage or other relationships, stress on the job, dealing with a parent with Alzheimer's... the list goes on... Now and then it can be beneficial to speak with a trained professional who can provide some objective advice and counsel. This doesn't mean you're a failure by any means... in fact, recognizing that you need some extra help is a very positive thing!

I'm very pleased to recommend the services offered through NowFeelGood.com. Matthew Miller's approach mirrors my desires as stated above in that he offers a safe environment with no judgment. He is very skilled at helping you come to a deeper understanding of yourself and your current situation, whatever that may be. As Matthew states on his site, "it is healing and healthy for you to be validated and understood." His approach blends counseling (what you need today, in the present moment) with therapy (insights into the 'why' behind why you do what you do). Whether you are in the middle of a life crisis, hoping to understand how events from childhood are influencing your choices today, struggling with addictions or another life issue, Now Feel Good counseling may be just what you need. Matthew offers a free initial consultation by phone (up to 30 minutes). Give him a call and feel free to tell him I referred you.

e-mail: Matthew@nowfeelgood.com
phone: (587)220-1384
(please, absolutely no soliciting calls or e-mails)

Walking Speed a Predictor of Health Issues

posted Jul 12, 2018, 8:52 AM by Walk Strong Calgary   [ updated Jul 12, 2018, 9:22 AM ]

One of the unique features of our Walk 15® program is our "Steps to Miles" system, which uses the pace of the music to measure mileage. Even though each person in class remains within about a 30-40 ft2 area, by keeping on the beat, we can approximate the distance we've gone over time. On average, we engineer the music in a class for a 15-minute mile (hence the '15' in the 'Walk 15®' brand), which equates to a 4 mph pace. I often take my music outdoors onto the walking paths, and depending on stride length, 30 minutes of walking to the beat will put me around 2 miles from my doorstep. Walk 15® is a great way to measure walking speed; however, in our activities of daily living (ADL), we seldom walk to music. So how can we measure our walking speed as we go about our day... and does it matter?

According to a growing trend in research, gait speed may actually be a better predictor of certain health issues than traditional measures such as pulse, breathing, and blood pressure. According to Professor Dina Katabi of MIT, "Many avoidable hospitalizations are related to issues like falls, congestive heart disease, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which have all been shown to be correlated to gait speed." Measuring changes in a person's walking speed could potentially result in early detection and prevention, especially in the elderly. 

The research is based, however, not on the speed one would walk during fitness activities; rather, the key element is how our gait (or walking) speed changes over time in day-to-day life - walking across the room to grab a snack; walking to answer the doorbell, etc. According to researchers, changes in stride length may also help experts understand conditions such as Parkinson's Disease, one of the characteristics of which is taking smaller steps. Such changes could also be an indicator of an injury (and subsequent increased risk of a fall) and perhaps even serve as an indicator over time that an individual may be ready for assisted living. 

Going Wireless
A recent paper written by scientists at MIT proposes using a wireless device called "WiGait" to measure walking speed in the home. The system analyzes wireless signals that bounce off a person's body and apparently is 95-99% accurate in measuring gait speed, 85-99% accurate in measuring stride length. The device hangs on the wall (approx. size of a small painting) and there are no belt-packs, wrist devices, or other sensory devices to carry on the body, and it can even 'see' through walls.   It also emits 100 times less radiation than a cell phone. If privacy is a concern, rest assured, there are no cameras involved - merely moving dots on a screen. Researchers hope to eventually use the system to monitor people with MS, Parkinson's and even Alzheimer's to assist physicians in tracking the progression of their conditions and adjusting medications as needed. 

Nancy Ehle is Founder & CEO of Witness 4 Fitness in Calgary, Alberta. Nancy is certified as a Walk 15® Instructor, Master Level as well as a Group Fitness Instructor (American Council on Exercise) and has studied many specialties such as Exercise and Menopause, Conducting Postural Assessments, Chronic Musculoskeletal Challenges & Exercise, and more. She is also a Health Coach, artist, author, and amateur photographer. Follow Nancy on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/walkstrongcalgary 

Source:

"Heart & Sole" - the Magazine - Now Available!

posted Jun 24, 2018, 5:24 PM by Walk Strong Calgary

These past few months have been a blur of activity as I've been working hard in the background on a new wellness magazine published through a division of my company - Grace Productions. "Heart & Sole - Staying Fit & Fabulous at 50+" is now available! 

What began as a 16-page handout for the Calgary Woman's Show in April quickly ballooned into 36 pages as both personal and professional contacts stepped forward to contribute some great articles! There are a variety of topics to suit any age, from dealing with stress and mental burnout to the 'Entrepreneur's Corner,' and a great submission from a shy housewife who tells how she became an on-air host on a community radio station. There are several fitness-related pieces, of course, and a special series called "Tales from the Bright Side," wherein two Mom's of children with special needs share candidly about their respective journeys - one has a son with Autism, the other a daughter with Angelman Syndrome. Real people. Real life. 

Order a hard copy or ebook version here: Order Heart & Sole

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