It’s All About the FEET!

 

Did you know that the first day of Spring has already passed?!

It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter, and it’s time to get excited about warmer weather.

Pam-Ashley-kids on a walk-run
Excited for Spring!

This morning I decided rather than go to the gym I’d enjoy the brisk Spring morning by doing a walk/run on the road I live on. My daughter and three of her children joined the fun. We ran, walked and even raced to the mailboxes!

There was one problem. The tires on the running stroller had no air in them. It didn’t stop us from having fun, but things would have been easier if the stroller had been ready to go when we wanted to use it.

This reminded me that early Spring is a GREAT time to prepare for the increase in outdoor activity that warmer weather brings.

Pump up, tune up, polish up and get ready to go. 

It’s time to take out your fitness gear and prepare to enjoy your favorite Springtime activities. Whether you plan to ride your bike, walk, hike a mountain, play tennis or play a pick-up game of blacktop basketball, it’s time to pull out your gear and see what needs to be tuned up, repaired or replaced.

Where do I start?

Think about all the activities you’re looking forward to doing in the next several months. Which of them require the use of your feet? Probably most of them. Why not start there?

You use your feet and legs all day, every day, and comfortable, supportive shoes are a must. My husband is fond of saying, “Life is too short for uncomfortable shoes.” He ONLY wears comfortable shoes. For occasions that require a suit and tie, he wears black sneakers, not dress shoes.

“Life’s too short for uncomfortable shoes.” 

Fitness instructor Nicole Nichols points out that “your feet work hard every day, carrying you colorful sneakers.jpgthrough your daily tasks while you walk, stand, carry, lift, climb, clean, work, and exercise. If you neglect your feet–especially during a workout–then your feet with have to deal with swelling, blisters, and lasting discomfort on top of everything else. . . .To improve your workouts, look for a high-quality shoe with a good fit that is made to support the activities you do.”1

Nichols recommends finding activity-specific shoes and talking to someone who knows how to make sure the shoes are comfortable and fit the way they’re supposed to for maximum performance:

“Although most people buy running shoes even if they have never jogged, the shoes you buy should be specific to the activity that you will be using them for.

Running shoes have additional cushioning to absorb shock as your foot hits the ground, which helps to reduce blisters. They are flexible and light. Running shoes are designed for forward motion, so they don’t support you well when you move in other directions (like during basketball or step aerobics).

Trail shoes have added traction for running and walking in grass, mud, or trails.

Walking shoes tend to be stiffer and heavier than running shoes. These provide more support since your foot rolls from heel to toe more slowly than when you run.

Cross Training shoes are great for people who have a varied workout routine or play different sports. This is the most versatile athletic shoe, designed to give more support for changes in
direction and impact, making them an economical choice. They’re heavier and less cushioned than running shoes and not recommended if running is your main mode of training.

Specialty shoes exist for weight lifting, cycling, hiking, tennis, basketball, soccer, and more. If you engage in these activities several days per week, consider buying childrens-shoes-hiking.jpga sport-specific shoe to fit your needs.

Lifestyle shoes are not made for athletic activities, even though they are made by the same manufacturers who make running and workout shoes. These shoes have flat soles and a sporty look, but not enough support for workout. They’re fine for running errands or casual wear, but don’t make them part of your exercise gear.”1

You can find help at stores that specialize in the kind of activity you want to engage in. For instance, a sporting goods store employee should have a better idea about running shoes vs. walking shoes than would a Wal-mart employee. Also, a store that specializes in selling equipment for the activity you want to do will have more informed employees and, in many cases, better shoe options.

Spruce up your gear, and get out there and have FUN!

Let me know in Comments what fun outdoor activities you have planned!

1 Source: sparkpeople.com, “If the Shoe Fits Wear It!,” Nicole Nichols, Fitness Instructor and Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer

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