Just Cruising: Simple Run/Walk Fitness for Busy People with Sue Ward

WebMD Live Events Transcript

Event Date: 06/06/2000.

Fitness educator Sue Ward reveals her methods on how you can get in shape fast by combining the worlds of walking and running.

The opinions expressed by Ms. Ward are hers and hers alone. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. this event is meant for informational purposes only.

Moderator: Welcome to WebMD Live's Sports and Fitness Auditorium. Today we are discussing Just Cruising: Simple Run/Walk Fitness For Busy People, with Sue Ward.

Sue Ward has a BS in Exercise Science and a minor in nutrition from Southern Connecticut State University and holds a variety of related certifications from the American College of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise, and the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research. She has been developing fitness programs, training clients, and teaching exercise classes since 1982 and has successfully trained non-runners ages 15 to 50 with her cruising program. Sue serves as a member of the Program Director Committee for IDEA, the world's leading organization for health and fitness professionals. Currently the director of a large corporate fitness center in Southern California, she is committed to helping people lead healthier lives through physical activity.

Sue, welcome to WebMD Live. How do you get people to "simplify" exercise?

Ward: There are four ways I get people to simplify exercise. One is by sticking to the basics. There are trends that come and go such as cardi-boxing and step-aerobics, but walking and running have been with us and remain the most natural to our bodies. Also, no equipment and very little instruction is necessary. The second way I get people to simplify exercise is by committing to no more than three days a week, or what comfortably fits your lifestyle. Three days a week works for most people. Most people are busy and have no time, which is the number one reason why more people don't exercise regularly. Three days a week is more realistic. Third, we don't waste time, that is, doing the most effective exercise for cardiovascular and muscular fitness. The run/walk fitness can burn calories in a short amount of time. Many of the strength exercises I recommend use more than one muscle group and use a person's own body weight, such as a pushup. The fourth way is I get people to set a short-term goal, something that builds self-confidence: New exercisers set a goal participating in a five kilometer race. In six weeks a person can be ready to do such an event and not feel that it was too difficult to achieve this goal. This brings self confidence.

flooz_webmd: When is it best to walk, before or after eating? And how much time do you allow between meals and a walk?

Ward: Generally, it is best to exercise prior to a meal. However, you should not be completely starving. If it's first thing in the morning, it is best to have a glass of juice, or something light and easily digestible. It depends on the person, but generally, having something light, like a glass of juice, you can usually exercise within 15 to 20 minutes.

drchu_webmd: How should a person who has had a heart attack approach your program?

Ward: Very carefully, first. Get a doctor's okay. This person would start out with walking, and get themselves to a comfortable pace. With their doctor's okay, they would begin to implement running intervals every three to four minutes. Gradually, after a week, if that feels comfortable, then in week two, you could run for two minutes and walk for three minutes and repeat that ratio. Gradually over time, you could increase the running minutes, provided it feels comfortable. There may be a point where you feel you don't want to increase running minutes. That would be fine, if you choose to run for five minutes and walk for three. The program is very flexible.

drchu_webmd: Is using a treadmill as good as working outdoors?

Ward: Whatever is most convenient for you will work. However, you do burn more calories outdoors and it may be easier to maintain. Some people feel that treadmill training can be boring or repetitive.

Moderator: How does your run/walk program get people to stick to exercise?

Ward: One, by giving them a purpose for exercising, some end results. That's why I encourage people to enter a road race. When people exercise with a purpose, they are more likely to stick to a program. Second, by keeping it time efficient and moderate. People are very busy nowadays, and in order to adhere to the program, it has to be realistic to fit into a lifestyle. Third, by trying to make it fun. Using a partner, meeting once a week to exercise together in a nice location such as along a beach, lakefront, park, et cetera.

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