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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Walking in place good for strength, endurance

Wina Sturgeon McClatchy-Tribune

We all slow down as we get older, but that certainly doesn’t mean we should let ourselves waste away. If you’ve hit the midcentury mark, there’s a way you can keep, or even build, your strength and endurance – without stepping outside your own door.

It involves a lot of walking – walking in place for endurance and against resistance for strength. It’s simple, but you have to put together a simple device to let you do it.

Gather your materials. All you need is a sturdy belt and some rubber tubing. If you don’t already have a strong and sturdy belt, get one from a thrift shop. The rubber tubing can be found at outdoor shops and some hardware stores, or it can be ordered online by the foot. Get the strongest kind, which is usually black.

You’ll need about 30 feet of the stretchy tubing. Tie a tight triple-knot at each end. Drape it over the belt, and put the belt on. Fasten it loosely; you want the belt to be saggy. Put on supportive shoes with flat heels.

Find a workout spot. Choose your most sturdy door for the next part. Place the knotted ends of the tubing on the other side of the door, just above the doorknob. Shut the door firmly. Pull on the tubing to make sure it’s shut securely on the other side of the door. You should have a doubled length of the stuff, going through the belt and fastened inside the restraining door. Next, pull it around to the back of the belt, turn your back to the door and walk out until you can feel the tubing pulling against the belt.

Start walking. As you walk, the tubing will hold you in place. The time will pass more quickly if you listen to music or watch television while you do this workout for at least 15 minutes every day.

Maintain your equipment. Check the tubing every day to make sure it’s not developing any cracks or splits, especially the part that’s being shut inside the door. If you’re concerned about scuffing up the carpet, buy an inexpensive length of the runner carpet sold by home stores. Again, remember that how it looks doesn’t matter; you can roll it up and stash it out of sight when your workout is done.

Here’s the best part: Even if you walk slow and lazy, you’ll lose weight, get a bit stronger and build your endurance so you won’t puff and pant just from walking up a flight of stairs. But if you walk out further, to make the resistance of the tubing more intense, that will increase the build up of your strength and burn even more calories. If you pick up the pace so that you’re actually jogging, you’ll get a great aerobic workout that will vastly improve your endurance.

Even if you alternate walking and jogging, and go from heavy to light resistance from the tubing, you’ll still burn more than a hundred calories with each 15-minute session. You’ll burn off more than a pound of fat each month. You’ll be stronger and have much more energy as well.