If you head to a gym or outdoors to workout obviously you'll be wearing appropriate footwear -but what about if you work out at home?! I often hear clients using at home workouts programs (DVD based, streamed or otherwise) doing their workouts barefoot. And while you may be working out in the comfort of your own home - your workouts should still be approached with the same footwear as is required in the gym! The only exceptions to this in my opinion would be yoga & Pilates type workouts. Why?! Let me give you my reasons: 1. Shoes protect your feet. If you drop a weight or object during your workout - your feet will have some protection. It'll still hurt...but possibly slightly less. 2. Shoes create a stable base of support. Barefoot aficionados might disagree with me here - but I think having that base of support is important - especially for higher impact and lateral movements. Most of the population does not have "ideal" mechanics. There are several variables as to why (which I won't get into here) but it is a relatively small segment of the population that have awesome foot mechanics. The majority of us over-pronate (aka collapse in prematurely in the foot strike) or supinate (aka ride around the outside of the foot). In either case if our shoes are not supporting us this CAN set us up for some not so awesome mechanics in our athletic movement patterns. And not so awesome mechanics COULD lead to injury - and there's nothing more crummy than being sidelined by injury when you're out there trying to ROCK your healthy lifestyle. In an ideal world would we spend time barefoot and strengthen the feet? YES! Absolutely. I just don't personally think that during higher intensity fitness is when you do it. 3. Shoes provide cushioning. Again, barefoot evangelists will disagree, but for about 80%+ of the population (those of use who DON"T have great mechanics) good cushioning is important. Yes, our feet were designed to be a "spring" and absorb impact (there are a multitude of bones & joints in the foot to facilitate movement in this regard); however (and it's a big one) - we weren't designed to walk/ work/ run/ jump on HARD surfaces like concrete & wood. Our feet were designed to walk on EARTH - which is softer and much more forgiving. So yeah...shoes. What should you be looking for? Head to a store that has trained sales people who know how to properly fit shoes. They should watch you walk and possibly ask you to do some exercises while they watch your mechanics and ask you a bit about your health/ injury history.* For most home based workout activities I'd recommend a good cross-trainer. This is generally going to be a stiffer shoe that has more lateral stability (as opposed to a running shoe). But a good quality running shoe that fits really well may also be the right thing for you (especially if you want to be able to use them for walking/running. For a little video about how to choose the right shoe for you check out this one from the archives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aduBXmR4JfM Questions? I have answers! email@example.com More about Gillian: Gillian is a Personal Trainer and Fitness instructor based in Nanaimo, BC. She holds a BSc in Kinesiology and is a Trainer of Fitness Leaders for the BCRPA. She is a passionate advocate of fitness & health who believes in creating a healthy lifestyle you love! Join our Super You community online: www.facebook.com/superyoufit For more information about Gillian & Super You visit www.superyou.ca *If you're local in Nanaimo, BC head to Frontrunners Nanaimo (1825 Bowen Road).
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