Archive for November, 2010

You may have had heard a lot lately about exercising, walking, and running in your bare feet. For some, the thought of putting on shoes is ridiculous. There’s a running group in New York’s Central Park specifically dedicated to the no shoe, running barefoot philosophy. Humans are born without shoes, right?  So, why not? Well, in today’s society, with all the concrete, glass, metal and let’s not forget the fashion police either, moving around with no shoes on would be inappropriate. But, let me put this into perspective.

Your hands, feet, and face have the highest amount of proprioceptive (touch) receptors than any other place in the body. How dull would your sense of touch be if you wore gloves around on your hands all day? I’d bet that report for work would be a little more challenging to complete. And, how difficult would it be to communicate on facebook?

Barefoot training improves agility, strength, equilibrium, plus it delivers sensory feedback that allows people to make corrections in their gait, improving the efficiency of walking and running. Also, people are more apt to land at mid foot, creating better body alignment, lowering impact, and reducing stress and injuries.

Most modern day shoes crush the foot into abnormal positions and you don’t get the movement the foot is designed for. This throws off gait alignment and can cause ankle problems, knee pain, and lower back issues. Today, about 20% of the adult population have flat feet and a small subset received theirs from genetics. The others developed their flat feet over time from wearing tight fitting shoes with too much support, high heels, injury, and age. Check out the pictures below from a study by Dr. Hoffmann, in 1905, the American Journal of Orthopedic Surgery explaining how wearing shoes effects the structure of the foot. The picture on the left shows a foot of an adult wearing restrictive shoes while the other is that of an adult who rarely, if ever, wore shoes.

You can see how the shoes narrowed the structure and cramped the toes. Look at the axis from the heel to the big toe, it points inward. And, the shoeless foot shows a straight line drawn through the axis, with a healthy, well-balanced stable foot.

So, what do we do about it? (more…)

Holiday Weight Gain!

Posted: November 15, 2010 by Louie Brockhoeft in Exercise Tips, Nutrition

It seems to happen every holiday season, Weight Gain. The average American gains 3-5 pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. You have numerous office parties, family dinners, and Christmas parties. Shopping, waiting in long lines and rear ending someone in the parking lot can’t  help with stress levels either.  I didn’t even mention, the salty, fatty snacks, the alcohol, and the sweet, sugary pie that Aunt Pat made for the delight of your craving palette. So, instead of going overboard and throwing all the great accomplishments you’ve gained over the year away, here are some tips to keep you on the right path:

  • Partake but don’t overindulge. Limit to one a day. You’re going to be bombarded everyday with multiple displays of food. Allow yourself one small piece of a cookie or candy daily. This will allow you to get your fix and prevent overeating. If you aren’t confronted with holiday food, that doesn’t mean you get to make up for it and double dip the next day.
  • Always plan head.  If you’re going to a party, eat a well-balanced meal before you leave the house. Combine lean protein with nutrient dense fruits and veggies to reduce cravings for the hors d’oeuvres. Also, plan a workout or family adventure with physical activity. You will feel  less guilty and reduce your chances of eating unneeded foods.
  • Move more. If you typically exercise three times a week, then bump it up to five. If you workout for 45 minutes, then go for an hour. Clean your house. Take a walk with a co-worker over your lunch break.  Park your car further away. And don’t say you can’t because of the weather. Wear warmer attire and make an effort.
  • Be a socialite! Don’t stand around the calorie-laden food table. Focus your energy on other people and spark conversation. Conversation is calorie-free. Before you know it, your husband or wife will be coming over to say it’s time to go.
  • Increase fiber and drink more water. Add fiber to your breakfast to start off your day right. A nice bowl of warm oatmeal is a great choice this time of year. Have a fruit or veggie at every meal.  Eat healthy fiber packed snacks, like sunflower seeds, walnuts, or almonds. Increase the amount of water you take in daily. This helps with metabolism by flushing out all the toxins and unhealthy by-products of foods. Sometimes hunger pangs are misinterpreted because the body is in dehydration. Drink some water before, during, and after meals.

 

Try to use these tips this holiday season. Your efforts this year are greatly appreciated by many. Most importantly, have fun, enjoy time with your family, and be safe! Happy Holidays!