Monthly Archives: December 2010

Toning shoes? Fact or fiction

Lately I’ve been seeing tons of commercials for toning shoes.  What the heck are these things?  Whether it’s the moon boots that Sketchers is selling, or commercials of various women’s butts (attached to a faceless body) dancing around for Reebok, this seems to be the newest fitness trend.  Do toning shoes work?  Will they make my butt perkier?  Or are they just another stupid fad to waste your money on (aka the “shake weight” fad of 2009).

Basically, these toning shoes claim that they can chisel your butt and thighs just by walking.  How?  While designs vary from shoe to shoe, most of the shoes have pods or curves in the bottom that create instability.  The shoemakers state that this instability will cause the wearer to use and challenge different muscles in your thighs and calves.  While instability may work your core when you’re standing on a balance ball, does it work when you’re standing on the pavement?

According to most medical professionals – the shoes are a total and complete waste of money.  According to Dr. Paul Langer, a podiatrist who tried the shoes as an experiment, “I can say after a day in the clinic that my legs feel tired and the shoes are heavy (they are much heavier than conventional shoes).  Because the shoes are unstable, muscles must [work] harder to stabilize the foot and leg.  I would never propose that these shoes would replace a conventional fitness routine.”

While these shoes may help previously sedentary people to start walking again (any physical activity is ALWAYS a good thing), the bottom line for the average active person: Don’t waste your money on this crap.

And for those looking to tone up their bums and thighs….I would suggest some good, old-fashioned squats and lunges.

Grief and Exercise

Hi Folks.

Well, it’s been more than a hellish week for me so far.  This week my grandpa, whom I loved very much and to whom I was very close, passed away.  Although it wasn’t unexpected, it’s still very hard.

While every bone in my body wanted to stay on the couch watching reruns of the Millionaire Matchmaker, I dragged my butt of the couch, and decided to go for a run.  I left my ipod and pacewatch at home, and just ran — free, unplugged from everything.  Breathing the fresh air, I was alone in my own head with my thoughts and memories, and it felt incredibly therapeutic.

While people often focus on exercise as a way to lose weight, stay in shape, etc…, I rarely hear exercise touted as a way to maintain your mental health.  According to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, “A growing volume of research suggests that exercise can help improve the symptoms of certain medical conditions such as depression and anxiety.”  Lately, it has been the one thing that makes me feel really good in this difficult time.  Particularly in times of grief, it’s easy to turn to things such as brownies and glasses of wine to comfort and calm yourself and to deal with those tough emotions.  It’s so easy to get caught up in what you’ve lost, that everything else falls to the wayside – including your health.  And although I did enjoy a glass of wine or two this week, I’m proud to say that my focus has been getting my butt in gear and trying to get as much sleep as possible.

Doing thoughtful exercise, such as going for a run, heading to a yoga class, going for a nice bike ride, or simply taking a long walk outside is so healing and meditative, and it allows your mind to reflect and renew.  The benefits of physical activity are incredibly far reaching and can help you deal with a bevy of emotions — whether you’re dealing with a problem at work, or the death of a loved one.

So take it from me — get out there and move…you would be surprised at how alive you feel when your heart is pounding.