Walk your way to a longer, happier Life!


Walking, you do it every day. Just putting one foot in front of the other, however, can do more than get you from point A to point B. Done intentionally, walking can transform your obdy and lengthen your life. A brisk 20-minute walk could have significant health benefits. According to the National Institutes of Health, walking may:

  • Lower your risk of health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Help you burn more calories
  • Lift your mood

If you've been sedentary, consider having a gait analysis before you get started. This is especially important if you're in rehab or have any discomfort in walking. The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging has reported that gait velocity, or how fast you walk, correlates to fall risk," says Tina Schmidt MPT, Assistant General "Manager of FYZICAL Palm Beach. "BODYQ by FYZICAL measures gait velocity to see if you are at risk and also assess overall muscular imbalances to determine the best exercises to develop the strength, coordinate and balance to safely return to a walking program."

As an exercise, walking workouts are not meant to be an easy stroll through the park. You could, of course, walk anywhere: park, mall beach or street. That's what makes walking workouts so convenient. But it's how you do it that transforms walking into an effective fitness-building activity.

Walking workouts are brisk and intentional aerobic activities. Thus, your heart rate should rise to a moderate cardiovascular level. A simple way to know if you are in a moderate cardiovascular zone is if you can talk but not sin while walking. Singing requires more cardiovascular effort and more lung capacity. So, your breathing is clue: if you can smoothly sing a tune, you need to amp up your walk.


Just as gait analysis can help prevent an injury, the right shoes make all the difference. Trying shoes on at the end of the day is a good strategy because that is when you feet are at their largest. Look for shoes that allow you to wiggle your toes but not slide around inside. The shoes should also provide some cusHioning and light treads on the bottom to prevent slipping while walking. Running shoes could work, but be mindful that the larger treads can be a tripping hazard.


Proper walking form  is important. Keep your chin up and your shoulders slightly back. Let the heel of your foot touch the ground first, and then roll your weight forward. Walk with your toes pointed forward and let your arms swing naturally.
Keep your feet happy by wearing sweat-absorbent socks and keeping your toe nails trim to avoid ingrown toenails. Stretching is vital for your whole body, including your feet. Stretching may help you avoid plantar fasciitis and tightness in the Achilles tendons and shin splints.

"A gentle stretch can help ease next day soreness," says Schmidt. "An easy leg stretch can be done while laying on your back and extending your leg up to the ceiling. Point and flex your foot to stretch out the front and back of the leg."

Avoid talking on a cellphone while workout walking. Just like talking and driving, chatting on the phone while workout walking is a major distraction. Focus on your body and your surroundings instead. It will help keep you safer and reduce your risk of stumbling off a curb or into an opening car or shop door.

If you're going to be walking in the early morning or later at night, a safety vest, which reflects the light of  oncoming cars,m is an inexpensive accessory to wear. Dawn and dusk make it harder for drivers to see you, and while you're smart enough not to be distracted by chatting on a cell phone, the same is not sure of a lot of drivers. If you're going to walk near traffic or on the road, wear reflective clothing.


To increase your intensity, you can simply walk faster. But weights can be a great addition to a walking workout program. A pair of light hand weights can help increase your effort and help strengthen your arms, too. You don't need a lot of weight, a couple of 2 or 3 pound dumbbells are enough. Some are made with walking workouts in mind as they are easy to hold and have foam covers for a nonslip grip. Weighted vests are another option. These vests have slots where you can place the amount of weight you'd like.  Weighted vests are quite practical because you can add weight as you walking workouts get easier. In addition, you make just about any workout more intense, for example, doing push-ups or riding your bike becomes more challenging wearing a weighted vest.

Walking sticks are also quite useful especially if you have slight balance issues or are trekking over uneven terrain. The sticks can also make it easier on your knees when you go up and down hills.


To keep yourself motivated and on task, create some goals and chart your progress. Tracking your time, steps and distance area all ways to mark your accomplishments. There are many trackers out on the market. Among the most basic are pedometers, which just track your steps. It's a simple way to ensure you've done at a set amount of steps per day. A pedometer is an inexpensive tracker that can motivate you to go around the block just one more time to complete your daily goal.

On the other side of the scale, are more comprehensive devices that track time, steps, distance and heart rate, offer GPS routs and much more. Of course, they can also cost $150 and up. Many can automatically chart your data through online applications. They also typically offer online communities where you can make virtual friends to support and challenge you.

Finally, i fyou need motivation to get or keep moving, consider signing up for a fundraising walk. there are many charities that have walking events nationwide. What a great way to raise money for your favorite cause and provide you with a reason to keep on moving!

Looking to improve your PERFORMANCE? Consider BODYQ?

A 66-year old woman who loves to golf went to her local FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Center to assess her physical condition. Her goal was to improve her game. Her BODYQ assessment quickly revealed the root of the problem: weak core muscles.

Because BODYQ could quickly assess her exact issue, her fitness expert could design a custom core strengthening program ideal for her needs. The Result? A month later her golf ball soared another 25 yards.

You might be thinking that any experienced personal trainer could figure out that core strength is crucial to playing golf. While that is true in broad terms, it takes some trial and error to determine which core muscles need what. It’s not just about your abdominals-core muscles include shoulders, back and hips, too. This complex muscular network has to be balanced in strength and flexibility.

BODYQ provides FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers physical thearpists and fitness experts with an unprecedented assessment tool to develop the ultimate customized exercise routines for an individuals’ specific body.

Mike Drumm, MS, CSCS, is a highly experienced exercise physiologist who specialized in strength and conditioning. He’s worked with dozens of clients at the Ft. Meyer’s Florida location. He credits BODYQ for enabling him to more efficiently develop effective exercise programs.

“It’s common for personal trainers with little medical training to need several sessions to figure out a client’s true strengths and weaknesses,” says Drumm. “With BODYQ, we know in about 45 minutes.”

Exercise programs are not only designed around clients’ goals and needs, they are also designed around where they exercise and what exercise equipment they use. For example, fitness experts could design a home-based program using hand weights and flexible tubing or the program can be based around gym equipment. “Ideally, we check BODYQ scores every six months,” explains Drumm. “That way, we can see if the scores went up or down and then further customize the exercise routine as needed.”

Several years ago, Jim Abrams, was told he needed knee surgery because of an old sports injury. He went to physical therapy, which corrected muscular imbalances. Not only was he spared from knee surgery; the process relieved decades old back and neck pain.

That experience led Abrams to join a team of inventors who created the BODYQ system.

“A lot of people ignore aches and pains hoping they’ll go away or think it’s just a part of aging,” says Dan Deems MD, PhD, FACS. “With BodyQ we can identify looming musculoskeletal problems, correct balance challenges, and identify ailments that you can reverse so you can live a higher quality of life.”

BODYQ analyzes your muscle strength, endurance, flexibility,k range of motion, vision, hearing and balance in a single testing session. The results and recommendations are immediate–no need to wait for days or weeks.

BODYQ also calculates an all important baseline score. Your score is compared to others of your age and gender. It’s insightful and motivating to know how you rank relative to others.
Cheryl Rapp, a woman in her mid-50’s, has a regular routine of working out five days a week but wanted to take her fitness to the next level. She was amazed by what BODYQ revealed.

I was tripping occasionally and I just blamed it on my flip-flops,” said Cheryl, “The big surprise was that my ankle flexibility was about half of what it should have been.”

Other revelations about strengths and weaknesses inspired a whole new workout routine for Rapp. Another woman in her early 60s was looking to start a fitness program. But BODYQ showed she was a fall risk. So, she was referred to a FYZICAL certified balance therapist with whom she could safely develop her muscles and then transition into a customized excercise program.

Many people have determined that preventative care, which includes training with a fitness expert and physical assessment with BODYQ, is ultimately less expensive and more life enhancing than spending money on conventional medical care for preventable health problems. Whether you want to increase your energy levels, recover from injury or illness, run your first 5K, lose 10 pounds or just feel stronger, BODYQ can jump start your efforts.

The Benefits of Exercise: Back to Basics

Posted by Said Lissone on Thursday, 14 August 2014 in Physical Therapy

The Benefits of Exercise: Back to Basics
Participating in regular exercise is the only way to achieve and maintain the health of our precious body, mind, and spirit. Regardless of this, we are often misguided by the supplement and beauty industry into believing that physical exercise is merely an adjunct to the products they are selling to us and profiting from. As a passionate health professional I want to remind you of the reasons why exercise is beneficial to our overall health. Exercise causes long-term physiological adaptation including improvements in heart function, muscle strength, muscle endurance and body composition. These adaptations allow you to better perform the activities of daily life and help to maintain your functional independence as you age.

A common axiom is resistance training strengthens and sculpts our muscles. What is less widely discussed is that the tendons, ligaments and other supporting structures in our body also get stronger when engaging in this type of exercise. Additionally, the density of our capillaries increases to compensate for the increased oxygen demand of our muscles. Changes in our nervous system also occur with resistance training. These include increased neural drive resulting in more forceful muscle contractions and improved communication between our brain, muscles and peripheral sensory systems. This type of neural adaptation is the reason why exercise is so effective in improving the symptoms of central nervous system diseases such as Parkinson’s and others.

Physical Therapy Fitness

Cardiovascular exercise also induces specific physiological adaptations. The most apparent adaptation is the increased efficiency of the little engine of life, our heart. On average, the resting heart rate decreases by 10 – 15 beats per minute. Blood pressure decreases in untrained individuals who engage in regular cardiovascular exercise. The reason our heart function improves is because our heart literally increases in volume, what we call healthy cardiac hypertrophy. Invariably our heart also gets stronger. A stronger and bigger heart means that the heart can pump more blood with less effort. In essence, cardiovascular exercise is a drug-free approach to reducing blood pressure and can prevent many dangerous diseases of the cardiovascular system over time.

It is well known that cardiovascular exercise and resistance training is beneficial for people with diabetes. It improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity through a combination of physiological adaptations and changes in body composition. Guidelines on exercise jointly released by the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Sports Medicine say regular exercise can tame Type 2 Diabetes. These guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week spread out at least three days with no more than two days between each exercise session. Considering individual limitations, diabetes should not be an excuse to avoid physical activity.

Exercise is the magic elixir, the fountain of youth, and the panacea. Now that I have reinforced what you already knew, Saïd says, “Exercise, be healthy, and love your life!” FYZICAL Sarasota Main Street offers PT-directed fitness training along with a modern fitness center, complete with a full line of strength and cardio equipment.

Always consult with your physician before starting any exercise program.