Fall walking class: Sign up today!

Starting Sept. 16, join us for a six-week walking workout class in Bridgewater, NJ. Here are the details:

My reliable No. 2 pair, promoted back to the lead position.

Walking for Life: Turn an everyday activity into more of a workout. Whether it’s a casual walk or more vigorous exercise, this class is designed to develop the proper walking form to maximize your exercise time. Walk at your own pace or challenge yourself with speed changes or interval drills. Sessions also will include some strengthening moves using resistance bands.

Where: Class will meet at The PeopleCare Center, 120 Finderne Ave., Bridgewater, NJ. (It’s near the intersection of Route 28 and Finderne Avenue, behind the TD Bank.)

When: Wednesdays, Sept. 16 through Oct. 21, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Cost: $60 for the whole series (that’s just $10 a class!)

Register: The class is sponsored by Jointure – Child Enrichment & Adult Education. To register, call its offices at (909) 722-0233. Or contact me at walkwithjoelle@mindspring.com and I’ll email you the registration form, which can be faxed, mailed or hand-delivered to Jointure offices.

Any questions? Send me an email. Don’t delay … class space is limited. Hope to see you there!

Spring walking class: Register now!

Starting May 7, I’ll be teaching a 6-week walking workout class in Bridgewater, NJ. Here are the details:

Walking Workout: Turn an everyday activity into more of a workout. Whether it’s a casual walk or more vigorous exercise, this class is designed to develop the proper walking form to maximize your exercise time. Walk at your own pace or challenge yourself with speed changes or interval drills. Sessions will also include some strengthening moves.

Where: Class will meet at The PeopleCare Center, 120 Finderne Ave., Bridgewater. (It’s at the intersection of Route 28 and Finderne Ave., by the TD Bank and CVS.) The program is sponsored by Jointure – Child Enrichment & Adult Education

When: Thursdays, May 7 through June 25, from 6 to 7 p.m. (There will be no class on May 21 or 28.)

Cost: $60

Register: Please call (908) 722-0233, ext. 14. Or email walkwithjoelle@mindspring.com and I’ll send you the registration form.

Hope to see you there!

Today’s walk

The need to do some higher mileage as I train for a half marathon, plus sunshine and nonfreezing temperatures, finally got me walking outside today.

If you read my last post, it might help shed some light on why it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve gone to the gym but hadn’t been able to bring myself to brave the cold outdoors for longer than house to car/car to gym.

About 2.5 miles into an 8-mile walk, just me and my shadow.

About 2.5 miles into an 8-mile walk, just me and my shadow.

As a half marathon on May 3 looms, though, thankfully the weather coincided with my need to do about 8 miles of walking. I’ve done that distance on the treadmill before (and did 6.5 on it a few weeks ago, thanks to the theater room at my gym — watching a movie makes the miles zoom by), but knew I really needed to get in some outdoor mileage.

After several months on the treadmill, it’s important to get re-conditioned and ready for a race without the assistance the machine gives me, on the unyielding surface of pavement. And to be sure, my speed was noticeably slower outdoors than in.

But that’s OK — I know it won’t take long to get back up to true speed.

I did an almost-8-mile loop from my town into the next and back. I love walking early in the morning, when traffic is light and most of the world is still waking up. I left the earbuds at home so I could enjoy the sound of birds — just that and my thoughts for almost 2 hours.

One thing I forgot about taking a walk outdoors: The near heart attack you get when a dog comes out of nowhere, charging up full bark on the other side of a fence you’re walking alongside. (What’s even scarier is when it’s one of those invisible fences, and you’re not sure until the last second if there’s any barrier between you and dog!)

As my walk progressed, I was waiting for the rewarding vibration of my FitBit, notifying me I’d reached my 10,000 step goal. Nada.

When I got home, I logged in and saw that it had just 8,500-and-change steps listed. Seems low for nearly 8 miles! But what was worse was my “active minutes” — just 11? Seriously? Sometimes I think that only something like jumping-jacks or burpees counts as “active minutes” where FitBit is concerned.

In my book? 2 hours of walking counts!

Should you wear ankle weights?

Several people have asked me whether they should wear ankle weights when walking, in part to gain some extra calorie burn and/or to boost the workout aspect.

The short answer is no — you should not wear ankle weights while walking.


Want to use ankle weights  while working out? Limit it      to something like this: while doing stationary strength training. Photo credit: Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here is the long answer:

  • Strapping weights around your ankles tightly enough so they don’t jostle while you move causes compression, which could compromise blood flow to your feet — not advisable.
  • Ankle weights are an unnatural distribution of extra weight. To concentrate added weight in one spot, particularly around a joint, can cause undue exertion and injury.
  • Wearing ankle weights can throw off your gait. That can tax your joints — not only your ankles but also your knees and your hips, causing strain and injury.
  • Having something strapped around your ankles may pose a tripping hazard. As you walk, you might get tangled up in the extra bulk. Or you might subconsciously widen your legs to keep the weights from bumping or rubbing together, which brings us back to the previous bullet point.
  • Concentrating weight at your ankles — even if only a few pounds — creates a muscle imbalance. Your quadriceps (or the muscles on the front of your thighs) suddenly have more work to do, because that is the muscle that lifts your leg to bend your knee. But your hamstrings (the muscles on the back of your thighs) don’t have an equal extra job.

If you want to boost the effects of your walk by wearing ankle weights, I’d suggest you reconsider. Keep weight training to just that — a weight training session. And keep your cardio efforts to an aerobic exercise session. You’ll get better results in both situations. (However, something like a circuit class, in which you alternate cardio bouts with strength training moves, is designed to be safely effective.)

All that said, if you are looking to turn your walk into a more serious, results-bearing workout, let’s talk. I can help you do so, without extra equipment and with lower chances of injury.