Does the Shoe Really Matter?

I’ve had multiple conversations over the past few weeks regarding runners or those who generally enjoy doing physical activity and shoes. More specifically, the effects that shoes have on your body. I want to discuss a few things that I believe can make a huge difference in how you perform and also possibly get rid of some of that nagging knee or foot pain.

 

nikeThe running shoe as we know it didn’t really come about until right around the late 60s early 70s, which, ironically (or not), is also the same time Nike was founded (1964). You see before that time, running shoes were simple, not a lot of support, not a lot of cushion and very little sole to speak of. Around that same time, America was in the midst of the Vietnam War. You see, I bring this up because history has shown that during times of heartache and stress humans like to run. For instance, after 9/11 the percentage of people running on a regular basis increased drastically. So the running trend was kicking and people started to realize that there was a lot of money to be made in this niche. So the modern running shoe was created. And as it has evolved, so has the number and severity of running related injuries. Things like shin splints, plantar fasciitis and sore knees were virtually unknown until this point. So what happened? What does the modern running shoe have to do with shin splints? I’ll tell you.

 

The human foot actually plays a huge in how the rest of your body encounters and reacts to the outside world, believe it or not. And with 20 muscles in the foot alone and literally thousands of nerve endings, when your foot can’t sense the ground because it is masked by a cushiony shoe, the body is then allowed to move in ways the human body was naturally not meant to move. For instance, I’m sure most people have heard of heel striking when you run, right? Well, heel striking is a very, very unnatural action. With heel striking, the pressure put on your joints and the rest of your body is increased dramatically. With is because, instead of landing on your forefoot, like you should, and allowing your achilles to act as a spring, you land on your heel, which is not as forgiving. So all of these $200 shoes and custom orthotics are simply adding to the problem instead of helping make your foot stronger. The more protection and cushion your foot has, the less it is able to do its job and the more likely you are to have an overuse injury.

 

So now what? Well, that’s simple……don’t run with shoes. OK, not really. Clearly that is some what of an overstatement. They have the shoes that have became popular over the past several years called minimalist shoes. These shoes are basically some sort of fabric attached to what resembles the tread of a tire. Again, I can assume that most have heard of Vibrams, the goofy five finger shoes. Well, these are minimalist shoes. Luckily enough,

merrell-vapor-glove2don’t have to buy these things in order to have a pair of minimalist shoes. A good brand that I recommend is Merrell. With Merrell you get a shoe that looks like a shoe as well as all the benefits of the five finger Vibram. The benefits of wearing these shoes as opposed to regular running shoes is that they allow you to sense the ground. With minimal support for your feet, your body will not allow you to compensate and adjust your form  and will force you to run on your forefoot, where you should.  I wouldn’t recommend sprinting off for five miles if your just starting. Your feet need to adjust so break them in. Start off with walking, literally. Move to short distance running and eventually you can get in some miles…..if that’s what you’re in to.

 

Short Thought on Nutrition

There are a lot of trendy nutrition fads out right now: paleo, intermittent fasting, keto. With all the information out, it’s hard to dig through the BS and figure out who exactly is legitimate and who you need to ignore. I’m not here to tell you who is right or wrong. All I want to do is give some simple tips to be successful in whatever goal(s) you have whether it be fat loss, general fitness, or being a pro athlete.

nutrition-side

 

 

First things first, any time you decide to go on a “diet”, you’re doomed for failure from the beginning. See, the problem is “diet” is short term. You think you only have to be on a “diet” for a certain amount of time, one month, 3 months, or however long it takes you to achieve your goals. If you want to be serious about being healthy and improving your quality of life both now and in the future, because what you eat now WILL affect your body in the future, then you have to think of changing your nutritional habits as a lifestyle change. This is the only way to continually be successful. Crash diets will do more harm than good. I see it every day, someone tells me about how they lost all this weight in this diet in a short amount of time then put it all back on. Yes, you starved your body then once you fed it junk again, it held on to that junk for dear life. Go through a a lifestyle change and you and your body will feel better, move better and last longer.

 

Number two, when you’re making nutritional changes, do them one at a time. Humans are creatures of habit, plain and simple. Your nutritional habits have been acquired over the years and will generally stay the same unless

you consciously change them. But when you decide to make a change, do it systematically. Change breakfast first, make sure you have that down for 10 days or so. Next, make sure you’re getting a good, lean source of protein in at eat meal. A couple of weeks later, have a cup of veges at one meal per day. Do you see where I’m going with this? Small changes done over time create lasting habits…..changing your whole nutritional frame work at once is dooming yourself for failure.

 

Finally, when you go to the store, stick to the perimeter. There is almost nothing good in the aisles at the grocery store. I can maybe count the number of truely healthy items on one hand that you can find in the middle of the grocery. You can find EVERYTHING that you need along the outside….fruits, veges, lean ground beef, chicken, nuts, fish, eggs, it’s all around the perimeter. Stay along the outside and you’ll be OK!

 

There you have it. The quick overview on how to change your nutritional habits. Nothing ground breaking and all very simple. Remember, we are creatures of habit so make small changes. This w

ill allow to create consistently new habits to help improve your quality of life both now and in the future.