Welcome to our program dietitian, Vicki Bovee, and her husband Bill’s healthy lifestyle challenge. 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. 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 #3–Walk sideways in your home.
OK, I admit this one may sound a bit crazy but Bill and I have felt the results and we’re hooked on this.
I spend most of my workday mornings doing body composition and metabolism measurements. What I see is that most of us sit too much and need to strengthen our leg muscles. Less muscle mass means we are burning fewer calories to run our bodies. I talk about easy strengthening exercises and also how to improve your balance. Walking sideways does both, it strengthens leg muscles and improves balance.
For one week we decided to walk sideways down the hall from the living room to the bedrooms. I made sideways signs on bright green paper and hung them on both ends of the hallway to remind us. On our first morning after several trips we noted:
Vicki: “it’s going to be a long week. It takes a lot longer to get down the hall.”
Bill: “This is a pain in the patooty.”

I also noticed my inclination to want to limit trips down the hall, aka the path of least resistance. In addition I was losing steps on my pedometer since it didn’t pick up the lateral motion like walking forward.

We started by just walking with side steps. Then we realized we had to make a game of it and came up with multiple ways to get up and down the hall sideways. Just remember whichever direction you go down the hall, return facing the same direction so you lead with both your right and left legs.

Want to work your thighs and butt? Do side squats.
Want to work your thighs, butt, hip flexors, and core? Do leg lifts by lifting your knees higher while walking sideways.
Want to work your calves? Tip toe down the hall.
Want to work your shins? Go down the hall on your heels.
Want to work your upper body at the same time? Lift your arms up and down over your head. Want to make that a bit more work? If you are carrying something, lift it up and down over your head. We got out some 2 lb and 3 lb free weights and did bicep curls.

Want to speed up the trip? Try these:
• Dance the old grapevine from aerobics classes of years past (Vicki)
• Box and be light on your feet (Bill)
• Sideways gallop

I checked in with Amanda La Torre, Fitness Director at Saint Mary’s Center for Health and Fitness. She said any time we are working on our balance we are working our core muscles. “Remember posture. Pull your belly button to your spine, keep your bottom tucked underneath, chest out and shoulders back.” She said lateral walking, like we were doing at home, is a functional exercise, meaning you’re training your muscles to do everyday activities safely. We were working all our leg and core muscles.

Our hallway measures 20 feet long. We kept track of the number of trips we made up and down each day. Bill works from home so he had more trips than I did. At the end of the week, Bill walked about 1 mile sideways. Who would have thought? I had fewer trips but still walked about ½ mile sideways. I also found out I could walk sideways up and down the five flights of stairs at work.

Before our week was over we noticed physical changes. Bill said he had less hip pain and it was easier to get in and out of the car. I noticed I had more flexibility and range of motion while doing my stretching exercises. I also had less hip and leg pain that affects my sleep.

The challenge has ended but we continue to walk or dance down the hall sideways. What started out as a pain in the patooty ended up to be a relief of pain in the patooty. This is one behavior we intend to keep because we can feel the physical improvement.

Your challenge this week, should you choose to accept it, is to walk sideways in the halls of your home to improve your balance and leg strength. If you have physical limitations, just do what you can even if it’s only a few steps. If you’re walking around your house, a few side steps is better than no steps.
Sharpen your knives and get out your cookbooks. We’re moving into the kitchen for next week’s challenge.
Eat Smarter…
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD

Want to catch up on what you’ve missed?
The road to success is always under construction. https://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/