It was so exciting to see the emphasis on walking in the May issue [“Get Them Walking!,” by Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RDN, FAAP]. For almost 15 years I have successfully led a fitness business with outdoor walking workouts as the core programming. Ninety percent of my revenue is from these outdoor walking classes. Their foundation is high-intensity intervals—all participants maintain a walking gait.
We also teach good walking form to minimize injury risk while increasing cardiovascular effort. It is my experience that there are an infinite number of high-intensity interval workouts that coaches can create for walkers in a variety of locations and weather conditions. I’ve taught all types of classes over my 25 years as a fitness leader (including yoga, step, aerobics, strength and boot camp), but outdoor walking classes have been the most successful for me as a personal business revenue stream. I attribute the success to the outdoor walking program’s results: fantastic improvements in fitness and mood, plus community building.
Through my business, WoW Power Walking®, and with my colleague, Michele Stanten, we offer assistance to fitness professionals who want to provide inspiring walking workouts to their clients and in their workplaces. We have noted growing interest in walking among health professionals. We owe it to our clients and ourselves to make walking a foundation for fitness that transforms into a lifelong health practice.
Founder and Head Coach, WoW Power Walking
Mixed Messages About Sustainability
After being overseas the majority of the past year, I’m a little behind on my magazine reading, but I’m steadily and happily getting caught up. I was thrilled to see the article “Improve Your Diet, Change the World” by Sandy Todd Webster [October 2015]. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 14, and I’m often shocked by the lack of concern about the environment—from trash generation to water consumption and pollution of all forms—especially when in most cases there are simple solutions such as reusing containers, supporting manufacturers who use minimal or no packaging, repurposing graywater, choosing renewable energy sources, etc. I think many people are simply unaware of these issues and feel there is a political agenda behind them when they’re presented in the media; seeing them in your unbiased journal means they come across as nonthreatening.
I was also dismayed to read such a gorgeous article and then see in the following article a picture of a woman holding a “disposable” water bottle. Why not show someone with a bottle that will last for years rather than with a one-time-use plastic bottle? Plastic is polluting our oceans and taking up space in landfills, and we use it mindlessly rather than mindfully, as the mind-body section of your journal always promotes.
Your publication has a diverse audience, and subtle messages can be powerful. You can choose the environmentally dangerous norm or be a leader in the move away from plastic trash. Thanks for all the hard work that it’s clear you put into each issue.
Paige Dobkin, MBA
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Editor’s note: A point well-made and well-taken, Paige. Thank you!
Early Exposure to Routine Fun Exercise Gives Girls a Positive Boost
This is my response to a June Making News item [“The Reason Girls Are Less Active Than Boys?”]. There is never a hard and fast rule that can be applied to keep girls active, but there is surely a deliberate action we can take to positively influence girls from young childhood through teenage years.
I have an exercise and sports science degree, and when I accepted an educator role [in Western Australia] with OSHClub (Outside School Hours) in a school that followed the National Quality Framework and the My Time Our Place program, I saw an area for improvement benefiting girls aged 6–11. Outside & Inside Exercise was part of child-initiated curricular planning, yet exercise activities weren’t provided on school mornings.
I observed the exercises used in the school’s sports department, and I created “5 × 10” workouts that could be incorporated into the children’s [morning] routine. Fundamental body-weight exercises were used to develop balance, motor responses, strength, quickness, cardio respiratory health and body confidence. The children were given the option to perform five functional exercises and repeat them 10 times as a fun “wake up for school” routine at 8:25 am, Monday through Friday.
I’m happy with the children’s progression: After 3 months, they could perform pushups, partner and independent situps, star bursts/jumps, burpees and squats. The routine (3 minutes maximum) is now child-initiated! The girls remind the educators of “5 × 10 time.” They develop awareness of their bodies, gain confidence, and have stronger identification about who they are and what they’re capable of, mentally and physically. The girls now encourage each other to jump, count out loud and push off the ground. Some girls do 20 extra repeats just for the fun of it. Early exposure to routine fun exercise will build foundations for sports and exercise in later years.
Educator, OSHClub WA
Scarborough, Western Australia
Finding Courage and Conquering Fear
I truly enjoyed Eric Kaufman’s article “Finding the Courage to Lead” [Inner IDEA, June]. Our industry is missing the boat big time with leadership, and he nailed it on the head with his article. I thank him for taking the time to share his insight with our industry.
I’m a personal trainer who recently made the transition from working in a gym to starting my own business. I had a fear of moving from a gym setting, but Eric Kaufman’s article helped me put [that fear] into perspective. Thank you.
Terry Burroughs Jr.
Terry B. Fitness
Temple Hills, Maryland