While maintaining an exercise regime is healthy, it is important to ensure that you prevent injury so as not to undo all that good work.

A key thing people tend to overlook is footwear. They wear the same pair of trainers whether they are working out at the gym, playing a sport or when jogging. I am guilty of this myself. However, this practice is unwise and should be stopped immediately!

Different shoes are designed for different exercise types and wearing the same pair for everything you do could spell disaster.

For example, when out running, your feet need a combination of cushioning and stability and shoes designed for running are designed especially to give you plenty of support and cushioning to avoid overpronation (rolling your foot inward when you land) and reducing the amount of joint impact. The ideal running shoe has to be able to transition from being a shock absorber as you land on the heel to become a stable source as you drive through your forefoot into the next stride.

According to Janet Hamilton who is an exercise physiologist with Running Strong in Atlanta, if you don’t have that shock absorption at the heel, you can increase your risk of stress-related overuse injuries. But if you don’t have that firm foundation in the forefoot, you are pushing off a squishy surface. It’s like running on soft sand. This lack of stability can increase the risk of a rolled ankle or similar injury.

If you are a gym junkie, the shoe you should be using is the cross-trainer. According to Albert Matheny, M.S., R.D., C.S.C.S., a trainer with SoHo Strength Lab in New York City, cross-trainers give you some stability to move forward and backwards and side to side.

However, if you are into weights, you might want to consider investing in a pair of weight lifting shoes. According to Matheny, weight lifting shoes are designed to be very stable to keep you as close to the floor as possible, and help you transfer absolutely all of your muscle force through the ground. If you are wearing squishy running shoes when you do squats all of that padding is absorbing some of the forces you are trying to put into the ground to raise the bar. To make sure that you can put the maximum amount of force into the floor, weight lifting shoes are built with hard, flat soles that usually flare out a bit at the bottom for a wider base of support.

Don’t do too much too soon!

In maintaining a regime, consistency is key! Slow and steady wins the race! Do not cram all of your miles in one day! Do not decide to bench press 100 kilos when you have never lifted weights in your life!

If you want your new regime to be a sustainable practice in your regular life, impose a routine and make sure it’s manageable, and follow training best practices to maintain your health and avoid injury.

Remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint!

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