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Priceless Walks

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Shedding those unwanted pounds can be as simple lacing up those sneakers and walking! It doesn't have to cost you a penny!

Sound too good to be true? These success stories may inspire you to try walking a mile in their shoes and that might just change your life!

"It was a tremendous change - even now I still feel good," said Jose Martinez.

We first met Jose Martinez back in 2009, two years after an astonishing weight loss.

"I was five pounds away from 300 pounds!," said Martinez. "I went to the doctor and they did my lab work and when I got my results, I was like I can't continue this - otherwise I'm going to live a short life. I was taking cholesterol meds and blood pressure meds."

He was also borderline diabetic. Even though Jose had never exercised before, his life depended on it, so he grabbed his sneakers and started walking.

"We have an underground tunnel here in the courts and I started walking with one of my co-workers," said Jose. "If you do the whole thing it's about a mile and I could barely do it. It took me six months to do one loop - then I was like I think I can do two, of course the two was a killer!"

But Jose pushed on, walking daily - picking up the pace, even climbing stairs when that got too easy. Setting goals helped keep him motivated.

"My first goal was to get under 230 pounds," said Jose. "The next goal was under 200 pounds. The furthest I got was 175 pounds."

He lost a whopping 120 pounds and that wasn't all, his blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides all improved drastically! He was even honored by the American Heart Association for his achievements.

"It's hard but at the same time I don't want to ever go back to the way it used to be," said Jose. "Now what I have to go back to controlling is my eating habits."

Today, Jose still walks religiously at lunchtime and has incorporated workouts at the gym and maintains a healthy diet. Even though he has put on a few pounds, he's managed to keep those additional hundred pounds off.

"I'm between 190 and 195 I've been staying in the range probably the last couple of years," said Jose. "The cholesterol is little high. That's when they told me - you need to tweak it again and I said I know what to do -- I don't want to get back on meds -- I know what to do. For me, it's just portion control and exercise."

Like Jose, Earleen Kleihege was not a fan of exercise. But the 68-year-old did not want to rely on medication the rest of her life.

"A couple of years ago the doctor said I was on the border of osteoporosis and he wanted to put me on meds - so I did and my body hurt me so bad - I said, 'No I can't do this,'" said Earleen. "He said, 'OK, I'm going to give you another year and we're going to do the bone density test again and it's your choice.' I kept hearing you need calcium for one thing and you need weight bearing exercises - that's it, I'm going to the gym so I started to walk on the track and then I started picking up the weights."

A follow up visit to the doctor revealed shocking results!

"I thought it would stand still I thought it wouldn't decrease, but it increased - my bone grew and I was shocked and he says, 'Well, you don't need to take any meds for your bones.' So because of that I will be here five days a week," said Earleen.

Like Jose, she started off slow and gradually added laps and incorporated the treadmill and weight-training.

"If I miss three days - it's like no energy," said Earleen. "And even walking up the stairs I noticed a difference in my knees and muscles in my legs. The more I did it, the more I wanted to do it because the better I felt about it."

And an added benefit is that she even dropped a few inches!

"Don't try to do it all at one time because you will get burned out - little at a time and you can do it!" said Earleen. "Take it a day at a time step by step -- a walk around the block," said Jose. "You just have to do it - get up and do it. If I can do it - anyone can do it."

Whether it's your very first step or you one millionth step, there's a way to make them more rewarding. You may be eligible for a variety of coupons, special offers and Walgreens gift cards just by participating in "Walk with Walgreens" -- a program designed to inspire and support your stroll toward a healthier lifestyle. To learn more visit http://walk.walgreens.com.

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