When deciding on starting or re-starting a fitness regime, it is most important to select appropriate footwear. There are sneakers for varied disciplines, and there are plain fashion sneakers. It is crucial to obtain the correct one suited for what you are about to undertake. An appropriate pair of sneakers can make or break your workout; it’s so easy to go wrong, and end up in pain.
I have seen one to many persons come in with pains and or discomfort. Typically, when the medical history is taken, it is linked back to the footwear used; when training actually started; or the activities undertaken. It is important to do the necessary warm ups and warm downs. It is vital to note that you start slow and gradually build, versus moving from zero to a hundred in quick time. The significant, or perhaps most critical element, is appropriate footwear suited to what you are about to embark upon. This alleviates or aids in preventing some of the issues such as inflammation or soft tissue injuries.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they start walking, running, jogging, or some other exercise programme, is just reaching into the closet and pulling out an old pair of sneakers. An old pair of shoes may no longer have the support you need. And even more problematic, that pair of shoes might be inappropriate for the activity you choose.
Choosing the Right Shoe
You need to choose the right type of shoe for the kind of workout you’ll be doing. A shoe made for running is very different from a shoe made for basketball or tennis. Running shoes have no lateral stability built into them, because you don’t move your feet laterally when you run; you’re only going forward. A running shoe is built to give you support and stability, as you move your foot through the running gait cycle.
Even walking shoes differ from running shoes. Runners land more on their forefoot, while walkers have a heavier heel strike. Therefore for running, you want a shoe that has more cushioning on the forefoot, while walking shoes should have stiffer rubber to support the heel.
Can’t you just get a good cross-trainer and use it for everything? Maybe, maybe not. A good cross-trainer will allow you to do the treadmill, some walking on asphalt or on a track, and light jogging. To choose a good cross-trainer, you look for:
- – A firm heel
- – Good support (you shouldn’t be able to bend the shoe too easily)
- – Light weight (you don’t want to add a lot of pounds to your feet).
If you’re going to participate in a particular sport two to three times a week or more, you should choose a sport-specific shoe.
Loving your sneakers too much and for too long
Your workout shoes should be your workout shoes, and not your running around shoes. You’ll break down a pair of shoes standing in them, or wearing them to the mall and running errands, much faster than when you’re running or exercising.
So buy yourself a pair of casual sneakers for running around, and store your good workout shoes in the closet, as soon as you get home from your walk, run or gym session. Another big mistake many people make with athletic shoes is not replacing them often enough. They believe they should replace their workout shoes when they start looking bad. However, shoes start to break down while they are still looking good. The support – the reason you buy the shoe in the first place is gone – and you’ll start feeling strange aches and pains in your feet, knees, hip, and back.
If you’re exercising on a casual basis, you can make your shoes last a year. However, if you are working out almost every day, 6 months is pretty much your limit! You should also have your shoe size rechecked every year. Foot size can change as our feet tend to grow bigger as we age.
Doing It Yourself
Unless you have been playing your sport for a long time, and have learned exactly what shoe is right for you, it’s a bad idea to just walk into a sports store, try on a few pairs of shoes, and walk out with what you think is best. Get advice on the right shoe and the best fit.
You need to know not just length, but also width and arch length. All three of those numbers together determine what size you should wear. And each shoe can be cut a little differently; a 10 and a half isn’t a universal 10 and a half in all shoes, so you’ll start with that number and work from there. At the Clinic we have the Brannock Device which facilitates foot sizing.
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!