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Take Care of Those Tootsies!

photo-25On this Motivation Monday, I want to offer a reminder about two things you should never ignore in your fitness routine: your feet.

A few weeks ago, I started experiencing some knee pain halfway through my elliptical sessions. It wasn’t anything serious, but there was enough discomfort to warrant some ice-pack recovery time  after my high-intensity cardio sessions. Then I realized I hadn’t followed one of my own cardinal rules on footwear. I missed the six-month mark for replacing my sneakers and was about to cross the threshold into the ninth month.

That might not seem like a long extension, but if you workout almost every day like I do, those sneakers wear down a lot faster than you think. Knee pain can be a sure sign you’re losing the support you need in your footwear. Sure enough, after I got a new pair of Ryka cross trainers, the knee pain disappeared in just a few days.

Here’s a little foot trivia that can help illustrate why your feet deserve a little extra TLC: there are 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles and tendons in each foot. That means there are 370 places vulnerable to injury in your feet alone. Now consider that insufficient foot support can lead to compensations made by your knees and hips, and you’re putting your body at risk for a whole world of hurt.

So, what’s the best footwear? It depends on your foot type. If you have a high arch, you need sneakers with good shock absorption. If your feet are flat and/or “roll” inward or outward, you need a sneaker with stability. An “average” foot needs a shoe with both cushioning and stability.

Since my fitness routine includes everything from elliptical training and rowing for cardio to squat Tabatas and strength training classes, I have always been the most comfortable working out in cross trainers. My friends who run will only pound the pavement wearing running sneakers. Many basketball players like high tops for the extra ankle stability. If there’s one sport you play often, it’s a good idea to get a pair of sneakers specifically for that activity, and also have a more “universal” pair, like cross trainers, for days when you mix things up.

I look at it this way: I have far too many lip glosses in my makeup drawer  and most guys have more gadgets than they’ll probably ever need. So why wouldn’t you spend the money to have at least one good pair of sneakers to protect you from getting hurt while you’re working so hard to stay healthy?

In the end, wearing the proper footwear is one of the easiest ways to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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Time for New Kicks!

As we kick off another work week, I realize we’re more than half-way through July. Which means I am almost a month overdue on updating one of my most important fitness tools: my sneakers!

Like many women, I love shoes. I love them even more when I find a great pair at one of the discount shoe paradises that have popped up all over the country. There is one type of shoe, however, that I will gladly pay full price for if I have to, and that would be my sneakers. Why? Because wearing the proper footwear while you workout is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from exercise-related injuries.

Here’s a little trivia that may come in handy if you’re ever on Jeopardy! and land a “Daily Double” in “The Foot” category: there are 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles and tendons in each foot.  That means there are 370 places vulnerable to injury in your feet alone.  Now consider that improper foot support can lead to compensations made by your knees and hips, and you are putting your body at risk for a world of hurt.

So, what’s the best footwear? It depends on your foot type. If you have a high arch, you need sneakers with good shock absorption. If your feet are flat and/or “roll” inward or outward, you need a sneaker with stability. An “average” foot needs a shoe with both cushioning and stability.

I don’t know your foot type, but I can tell you what works for me.  Since my fitness routine includes elliptical training, rowing, and strength training classes, Tabatas and Zumba, cross trainers keep me well-grounded and stable. I started wearing New Balance cross trainers five years ago. I currently have the 1011s, but it turns out, they’ve already moved on to the 1012s. I get a new pair every six months, and if I put it off for too long, I actually notice pain and discomfort in my knees while I’m on the elliptical or while doing squats and lunges.

As you repeat readers may remember, I’m not a runner. However, my fitness friends who do pound the pavement only lace up in running sneakers. When I played tennis back in high school (which seems like ages ago!), I had sneakers specifically for tennis practice and matches. Many basketball players like high tops for the extra ankle stability. If there’s one sport you play often, it’s a good idea to get a pair of sneakers specifically for that activity, and also have a more “universal” pair, like cross trainers, for days when you mix up your routine.

I look at it this way: I have far too many purses in my closet and most guys have more gadgets than they’ll probably ever need.  So why wouldn’t you spend the money to have at least one good pair of sneakers to protect you from getting hurt while you’re working so hard to stay healthy?

In the end, wearing the proper footwear is one of the easiest ways to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Friday Favorites

At the end of a particularly crazy work week, I thought I’d wrap things up on a light note. Along with questions ranging from how to calculate heart rates to how long do I spend on my abs,  people often ask me about the products I use. So, here’s a list of some of my favorite items that keep me feeling good whether I’m working out or not:

Shower Essentials: Since I take two showers a day (one to wake up, and one to clean up after my post-work workout), I use body wash instead of soap. It keeps my skin hydrated, and that’s especially important now as the temperatures drop and the heat comes up. I’m a big fan of the St. Ives line, which can be found at any drug store. To splurge, I’ll stock up on some of my favorites at Bath & Body Works. My top picks there are in the “Stress Relief ” line. There’s something about the smell of eucalyptus while standing in a hot shower that really helps me unwind after a long day.

Must-Have Moisturizer: Since passing the 35th birthday mark a couple of years ago, I admit I’m a sucker for anything that lists “skin firming” as a benefit on the packaging. Right now, I’m using and loving Aveeno’s “Positively Ageless Skin Firming Lotion.”

Face Faves: I suffered from acne in my teens and 20s. Now in my 30s, thanks to too much sun- worshipping, I have developed Rosacea. Every dermatologist who has treated me has recommended Cetaphil and I have used it for years. I wash my face twice a day with the “Gentle Skin Cleanser” and moisturize morning and night with the “Daily Facial Moisturizer,” which contains SPF 15.

Eye Cream: L’Oreal “Revitalift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream.” It’s a 24-hour “system” where you use one side of the tube in the morning to protect and the other side at night to repair.

Eye Makeup Remover: Almay “Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover Pads.”

Mane Management: As a blonde who amps up my look with highlights, I look for products that cut down on brassiness. Right now, I am using Aveda “Blue Malva” shampoo. I admit, I mix and match shampoo and conditioners as I use whatever keeps my hair moisturized and as frizz-free as possible. Right now, there’s a tube of L’Oreal’s “Everpure Sulfate-Free Moisture Conditioner” in my shower rack.

My Must-Have Hair Product: “Hard to Get” texturizing paste from TIGI Bed Head. It adds body and makes my layers move with that tousled look.

Workout Wear: On my body: Under Armour, Nike DRI-Fit or Champion C9. On my feet: New Balance cross trainers.

In My Gym Bag: Fiber One bars; tissues; hand sanitizer, clean socks, ear buds for my iPhone and snag-free ponytail holders.

Post-Workout Mocktail: Crystal Light pink lemonade and seltzer.

If you have some products that help you feel your best everyday, I’d love to hear about them! While diet and exercise are key components to our well-being, never underestimate the power a great-smelling body wash or pampering hand cream can have to help you have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Fitness & Footwear

Like many women, I love shoes. I love them even more when I find a great pair at one of the discount shoe paradises that have popped up all over the country. There is one type of shoe, however, that I will gladly pay full price for if I have to, and that would be my sneakers. Why? Because wearing the proper footwear while you workout is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself from exercise-related injuries.

Here’s a little trivia for you: there are 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles and tendons in each foot.  (No, I didn’t have those numbers memorized, I looked them up in AFAA’s Fitness: Theory & Practice, Fifth Edition.) That means there are 370 places vulnerable to injury in your feet alone.  Now consider that improper foot support can lead to compensations made by your knees and hips, and you are putting your body at risk for a world of hurt.

So, what’s the best footwear? It depends on your foot type.  If you have a high arch, you need sneakers with good shock absorption. If your feet are flat and/or “roll” inward or outward, you need a sneaker with stability. An “average” foot needs a shoe with both cushioning and stability.

I don’t know your foot type, but I can tell you what works for me.  Since my fitness routine includes walking, elliptical training, riding the stationery recumbent bike, rowing, and weight training, cross trainers keep me well-grounded and stable. I started wearing New Balance cross trainers five years ago (I currently wear the 1011s), and I get a new pair every six months.  I can honestly say if I wait longer than six months, I start to feel pain in my knees while I’m on the elliptical or while doing squats and lunges.   My current pair are two months old, and at the moment, I wear them with orthotics as I continue to recover from a stress fracture in my left foot.  (A subject for a future blog.)

While I am not a runner, most of my friends who are will only pound the pavement in running sneakers.  I also have friends who have sneakers specifically for when they’re on the tennis court. Many basketball players like high tops for the extra ankle stability. If there is one sport you play often, it’s a good idea to get a pair of sneakers specifically for that activity, and also have a more “universal” pair, like cross trainers, for days when you mix up your routine.

I look at it this way: I have far too many purses in my closet and most guys have more ties than they will ever need.  So why wouldn’t you spend the money to have at least one good pair of sneakers to protect you from injuries while you’re working so hard to stay healthy?

In the end, wearing the proper footwear is one of the easiest ways to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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