About this time of the year our sports and fitness patients get excited about running, hiking, fitness walking and outdoor sports. Whether you're continuing or starting an active health program, training for a four minute mile or just hoping to get around the block without wheezing, here are a few things to consider before slipping on that new pair of fitness shoes for the first time.
Your fitness level and success in maintaining a healthy life style starts from the ground up. Although conserving and maintaining the energy you need to achieve your fitness goals depends on a variety of factors the foot, ankle and lower extremities support your core. Together with diet and nutrition, your general physical and emotional health and individual biomechanics (the way the structural components of your body move and respond to physical forces and external conditions), all affect your fitness economy, the way your body responds and adapts to activity and uses its resources to best achieve an optimal state of wellness.
Every time your foot hits the ground stress is transferred into the muscles and tendons of your lower extremity and energy is transferred out through pressure on your shoes. Choosing responsive foot gear can help conserve energy, reduce injury and keep you engaged in your activity.
After decades of conflicting evidence about choosing the right shoe for runners evidence based science found that “a runner intuitively selects a comfortable product based on their own comfort filter, which allows them to remain in their preferred movement path”. Translating that to layman's terms means that the shoes which feel most comfortable to you will be the ones which allow your body to move naturally to improve your activity and fitness efficiency.
But remember it’s the whole shoe not just the sole that affects performance. The shoe upper, the texture of the lining and even the way you lace them up all have an effect on fitness economy and your risk of injury. However, whether you choose cushioned or minimalist shoes based on scans or scams foot problems, unless carefully managed, can undermine your fitness goals. Addressing underlying structural problems combined with a responsive fitness shoe can help reduce the risk of injury and allow you to enjoy the season ahead.