In Search of Shoes (part 1)

Now that many of us can be seen taking advantage of the warm spring weather by running, walking, and biking around the neighbor after dinner, it’s a good time to discuss proper foot ware.

Your activity and level in intensity plays a really big role in dictating your foot ware choices. When shopping for sneakers, make sure you pay attention to the labels on the shoes…just like we would do on our food! Most of the leading shoe manufacturers will properly label foot ware and have a variety of choices but not all are created equal. This is especially true for runners.

Our choice of running shoe need not be expensive nor do we need to worry about this year’s styles and colors and most of us do not need to go to the special shoe store to be fitted with the latest and greatest equipment. All of these things are very nice to have, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been running for over 15 years and have been everywhere from the outlet store to Jenkintown Running Company. But there is a difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’. What you ‘need’ is a shoe that hugs your foot in the right places, has enough cushion and arch support for your chosen activity, and is in your price range. When I find the right type of shoe, I buy it and will not stray from that brand and make. I’ve even purchased 2 of the same pair if they were that good of a shoe for a good price. The more mileage you clock, the more shoes you will need.

For example – I have a wider front foot and because of this, I cannot buy regular NIKE running shoes. NIKE has a tendency to fit those of us with longer and narrower feet. If I want to purchase a NIKE shoe, it has to be one specifically labeled as wide. My go to choice is the Asics Gel because it feels good on my foot the first time I try it on. If I try on a sneaker and I feel I need to ‘break it in’ the second I put it on…It’s not for me. New Balance is also good for wider feet.
It is true that you should purchase shoes later in the day as opposed to the morning. This ensures a better fit. You should also try on BOTH shoes – left & right foot. This allows you to walk around the aisle a little bit, bounce around in them to make sure they’re flexible enough for you. Always have the type of sock you plan on wearing when you exercise…sometimes the littlest thing can though off a good fit…like a seam.

“Supplement” to Anti-depressants

I felt the need to write a little bit more on this subject because I received a lot of feedback on it. So the basic concept is that we should understand that there are other options to relieving depression and anxiety besides taking an anti-depressant. The last time we talked about exercise in any form whatsoever. Another option that will play very nicely with exercise is a healthy diet.
A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids has been known to reduce the feelings of depression and anxiety. Eating fish is probably one of the best ways to get our omega-3’s. Salmon, bluefish, shrimp, scallops, even anchovies & sardines are all good sources. I’ve also heard that organic red meat has a decent amount of omega-3’s too. Who wouldn’t want a little surf & turf?

There are also two supplements worth mentioning – Fish Oil and St. John’s Wort. You don’t need to take them together although there’s nothing to say that you can’t. The fish oil can be used as a supplement to your omega-3 intake…or if you’re not particularly fond of fish. St. John’s Wort is said to promote a healthy mood. Just make sure you read the instructions on the label and always check with your doctor or pharmacy if you’re taking other medications.

So, a little cardio workout + fish for din din = healthy & happy 🙂

Anti-depressants?

I heard on the news recently that Americans are taking more anti-depressants than ever before and more than any other country. This was disturbing to me. I’m sure that they have benefits and can help people through difficult times and I’m certainly not against the use of them when it’s medically warrentented.

I do however think that we’re probably a little too quick to reach for and be given a pill. We try to mask the symptoms instead of addressing the problem. Why don’t we try a more natural approach? Exercise has long taught us the many benefits to maintaining not only a healthy body, but a healthy mind. One really does help the other. It’s all part of the balance.
Have you ever come home from a really rough day and heading to the gym was farthest from the last thing on your ‘to do’ list? Your mental state of mind was just so worn that your body responded accordingly to support your feelings of exhaustion regardless of your physical activities for that day? What did you do? Did you go to the gym or sit and watch TV on the couch?

That choice makes a huge difference in our well-being. If you were in the group that decided to go to the gym (or run or bike or walk), how did you feel when you were done? Exhilarated, right? OK, maybe that’s a strong word but you felt better I’m sure. You got the blood flowing, worked the muscles, took in some more oxygen and in turn your mind responded to the same stimulus that you gave your body.

Science supports this too. Exercise has proven to raise our levels of Serotonin which is a chemical that serves to elevate our mood and help us get quality shut eye. There are millions of scientific facts that support other ways that exercise helps to battle depression.

The weather has been cooperating with us recently. How about going for a run? Or a walk? Or a bike ride with the kids?

Flaxseeds – Heart healthy meets brain booster

This powerful little seed is a versatile addition to your diet. Flaxseeds contain a compound that our bodies can turn into Omega-3 fatty acids (the ‘good fat’). It’s fat that we need for a healthy heart and optimal brain function! They contain fiber so they support regular digestive function. There have also been studies that support consuming flaxseeds reduce our cholesterol. What more do you need to give these guys a try?

They are tiny little seeds that resemble sesame seeds, but they’re a little darker brown. They have a very mild nutty flavor and they’re fairly simple use in every day meals. You can get the actual seeds or the milled variety. The seeds last a little longer though.

I put about a teaspoon in my oatmeal or cereal every morning. I’ve also added them to stir-fries, soup, and even ground meat! You can buy flaxseed bread as well – I know Trader Joe’s carries it and it’s a nice change from whole wheat.