tightrope 1Welcome to our healthy lifestyle challenge lead by our program dietitian Vicki Bovee and her husband, Bill. Because we can always do better to live a healthier lifestyle Vicki and Bill decided to work on a weekly challenge together to provide support and accountability for each other and hopefully inspire you to make healthy changes. Follow along with them as they tackle a variety of challenges to eat better, eat more mindfully, and improve physical health and emotional well-being. Vicki and Bill invite you to participate and accept the challenges to improve your lifestyle too. Some of them may be difficult and please feel free to modify the challenges to accommodate your dietary needs and physical abilities.

Challenge #38 Walking the tightrope
Who would have thought our hallway would be such an exercise asset. We have walked up and down our hallway sideways (Challenge #3) and backwards (Challenge #26). We were working our leg muscles differently and working on our balance at the same time. We both noticed an improvement in leg strength and flexibility in the weeks we focused on those moves.

This week we decided to walk down our hallway heel to toe, or walking an imaginary tightrope, to improve our balance. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits. Fractures are the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5% of all people who fall. Having good balance is important for everyday activities, such as going up and down stairs. Good balance helps you walk safely and avoid tripping and falling over objects in the way or falling from walking on uneven surfaces. If you’ve recently had weight loss surgery, it is even more important to practice balance exercises. As you lose weight your center of gravity shifts but your brain still wants your body to move like a large person and this throws off your balance.

Walking with your toes pointed straight out in front of you as you do in heel to toe has another benefit. My Pilates and Tai Chi instructor, Pam Nelson, told me that when you walk with your feet pointed straight you use all your leg muscles. Most people walk with their toes pointed slightly out doing the duck walk. When you walk like this you are putting a strain on your ankles, knees and hips.

When we started our tightrope walking we were both were grumbling because it took more time to get down the hallway. (We grumbled about the same thing with the sideways walking). Bill noticed he was apt to limit his trips up and down the hall, much like people who live in two story houses and limit trips up and down the stairs. I noticed this for myself but just told myself to move it and get down the hallway because I needed the steps.

Vicki’s observations:
• It didn’t take long at all to get down the hall faster. I got pretty good at this and within a couple of days it didn’t take any more time than usual.
• At first I had to use my arms to help me keep balance but by the end of the week I didn’t need to do that anymore.
• I had to look at my feet at the beginning. My goal was to walk the tightrope looking straight ahead by the end of the week and I was able to do that.
• Our grandsons came up for the weekend and they had NO trouble walking heel to toe and could run down hallway on the tightrope. (Oh, to have that kind of energy, balance, and flexibility.)
• Grandson Asher told me to keep my feet on the flowers going down the middle of the rug and I could go faster. He was right.
• I sometimes walk heel to toe on the white line painted in the center of the indoor track at the gym. I could do it faster and farther than before this challenge.
• I think it was easier for me than Bill because I practice Tai Chi and that is a great exercise to improve balance. Our friend Bob in Tai Chi class turned 90 last week. He has been practicing Tai Chi for a long time and he can stand on one leg and do the kicks and turns without much problem. The man is amazing.

Bill’s observations:
• It did take a few days to get used to walking down the hallway heel to toe but it soon became like second nature.
• I started to really like walking heel to toe as my balance became sharper. It is very important to always work on good balance as we get older.
• It starts to become much easier and you can walk faster once you continue to do it for a few days. You must not get discouraged when you first start out.
• I find myself walking down the hallway heel to toe once in awhile even though the challenge is over.
• We have now done the hallway sideways, backwards and heel to toe. If Vicki says we have to do it on our hands and knees I might have to say no. Not really…. whatever Vicki comes up with I know will be fun and good for me.

I’m not up for another fall having fallen once in the past couple of months. That one had my tailbone and sitbones hurting for several weeks. The next time I might be in the 5% of those who fracture a bone and I’ll keep up with my balance exercises to prevent that. Our hallway continues to be a source of health improvement. I encourage you to use your home to do these functional exercises. You’re already walking around your house, just change how you’re walking. It doesn’t cost anything and the benefits can be great.

One of the stress buster strategies from last week was to do something you don’t want to do early in the day to get it over with. Our challenge next week was one of those I had been putting off since we started this. After 38 weeks I decided it was time to just do it and get it over with. I wonder why I waited so long.

Eat Smarter…
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD
Want to catch up on what you’ve missed?

The road to success is always under constructionhttps://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-weekly-lifestyle-challenge/
Challenge #1 Eat everything sitting down. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-weekly-lifestyle-challenge-week-one/
Challenge #2 Eliminate cheese as an ingredient. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-two/
Challenge #3 Walk sideways in your home. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-three/
Challenge #4 Include a fresh herb in your daily meal plan. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-four/
Challenge #5 If there is food in your mouth there should be nothing in your hand. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-weekly-challenge-week-five/
Challenge #6 Eat the MyPlate recommendations for fruits and vegetables. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-6/
Challenge #7  Stand (and walk if possible) while talking on the phone. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-7/
Challenge # 8 Don’t eat out of the package. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-8/
Challenge # 9 Keep a food record. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-nine/
Challenge # 10 Power down while eating. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-10/
Challenge # 11 Eating to reduce inflammation. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-11/
Challenge # 12 Eating to help our environment. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-12/
Challenge # 13 Switch it up. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2576
Challenge # 14 The road to success is still under construction. https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2583
Challenge # 15 Little bites. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-15/
Challenge # 16 Drink your water. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-16/
Challenge # 17 Count your chews. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-16/
Challenge # 18 The 100 Bite Diet. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-18/
Challenge # 19 Start your day right. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-19/
Challenge # 20 Holiday moves. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/wbi-health-lifestyle-challenge-week-20/
Challenge # 21 Limit TV time. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/limit-tv-time-wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-21/
Challenge # 22 The Paleo Diet: Eat Like a Caveman. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/eat-like-a-caveman-wbi-weekly-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-22/
Challenge # 23 Sweet dreams. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/sweet-dreams-wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-23/
Challenge # 24 What color is your plate? https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/what-color-is-your-plate-wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-24/
Challenge # 25 Six month reflections https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/six-month-reflection-wbi-healthy-lifestyle-challenge-week-25/
Challenge # 26 Retro-walking. https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/retro-walking-challenge-26-of-our-healthy-lifestyle-challenge/
Challenge # 27 Gimme a high fiber https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2861
Challenge # 28 The Half Plate Rule https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/the-half-plate-rule-challenge-28-of-our-weekly-healthy-lifestyle-challenge/
Challenge #29 Feel Good Week https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/feel-good-week-challenge-29-of-our-weekly-healthy-lifestye-challenge/
Challenge #30 Try one new healthy food a day https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/try-one-new-healthy-food-a-day-challenge-30-of-our-weekly-healthy-lifestyle-challenge/
Challenge #31 It’s a stretch https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/its-a-stretch-challenge-31-of-our-weekly-healthy-lifestyle-challenge/
Challenge #32 TLC for heart health https://www.westernbariatricinstitute.com/?p=2933
Challenge #33 The sounds of silence https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/the-sounds-of-silence-challenge-33-of-our-weekly-healthy-lifestyle-challenges/
Challenge #34 10,000 steps a day https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/10000-steps-a-day-challenge-34-of-our-weekly-healthy-lifestyle-challenge/
Challenge #35  35/350 https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/35350-35-of-our-weekly-healthy-lifestyle-challenge/
Challenge #36 Have a super week https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/have-a-super-week-36-of-our-weekly-healthy-lifestyle-challenge/
Challenge #37 Stress busters https://www.westernsurgical.com/bariatric-surgery/stress-busters-37-of-our-weekly-healthy-lifestyle-challenge/



Vicki Bovee is the Registered Dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute and leads the non-surgical weight loss program, “Health and Lifestyle Program.” Contact Vicki at vbovee@westernsurgical.com

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