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!