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shopping

How to Pick The Right Shoe for Working Out

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How to Pick The Right Shoe for Working Out

A question that I’ve gotten from athletes over the years is "What type of shoe should I purchase for running or for working out?" First off, I want to make it abundantly clear that I am by no means a podiatrist. However, I do have experience assessing people’s musculoskeletal imbalances, and I can prescribe corrective exercises to address these issues.

I’ll start with the most common dysfunctions that could improve by having the proper footwear. It's relatively common to have mobility limitations and insufficient movement patterns at the ankle joint. One of the more common issues I see is excessive foot pronation (feet collapsing inward) (as seen in the photo below) and lack of dorsiflexion (inability to flex the ankle).

People with flat feet or low arches will usually pronate their feet, causing them to put a majority of their weight into their arch. This can create a chain reaction of unwanted stresses up the body - up the “chain”. However, the reverse is also true, which means that if your hips are not stable and aligned, they’ll cause issues down the chain, and your knees and feet will begin to compensate as a result. Here’s a perfect example: as a result of the feet collapsing inwards, the knees will also collapse inwards. This can cause various knee issues, knee pain, and can make it more difficult to externally rotate the hips. The muscle that’s responsible for externally rotating our hips is our glutes/butt. If our butt isn’t in the game when we do lower body movements, then we’re in danger of not just having a flabby butt, but also potentially suffering from overuse injuries due to compensatory patterns.

Lack of dorsiflexion, or the lack of flexing at the ankles, is usually attributed to tight calf muscles - gastrocnemius and soleus being the biggest culprits. This issue is also usually coupled with the feet everting, or turning out, as a compensation for not being able to flex at the ankles.  Dorsiflexion allows for more freedom up the chain to flex the knee and hip during lower body movements such as squats and lunges. Besides exercises to help improve these two common mobility issues (I could write an entire blog post about these exercises), the right shoe can help solve this. That’s what we’re here for, right?! We went to our neighborhood shoe store, BAIT in the Mission to show you some examples of what to look for in a shoe.

FOR THE RUNNERS

First off, let’s start with those of you who run. I suggest getting a gait analysis at a local running shoe store like A Runner's Mind or Fleet Feet. You could also ask one of our P4L coaches to assess your overhead squat and single leg squat. From there, they’ll be able to give you feedback on the type of shoes that you may benefit from, depending on your musculoskeletal imbalances. One recommendation I could give without any assessment is this: if you’ve got flat feet, or if you put weight into your arches, get shoes that give you arch support. Make sure to do some research online beforehand to ensure that you’re getting the shoe that’s best for you.

 
This shoe is ideal for running, because it is a lightweight shoe. The difference between this and a cross-training shoe is that there's no lateral support, meaning there's minimal traction at the sole. I personally like a minimalist shoe, because it strengthens your feet while running and feels closest to a bare foot.

This shoe is ideal for running, because it is a lightweight shoe. The difference between this and a cross-training shoe is that there's no lateral support, meaning there's minimal traction at the sole. I personally like a minimalist shoe, because it strengthens your feet while running and feels closest to a bare foot.

 

FOR THE STRENGTH TRAINERS / CROSS-TRAINERS

For those of you do a variety of activities, and especially if you strength train, then please do yourself a favor and get cross-training shoes. I’ve seen countless people over the years strength train or do functional fitness classes in running shoes. Two reasons why this is not a good idea:

  1. Running shoes don’t have ankle support, so when performing lateral movements, you’re going to be more vulnerable to ankle sprains.
  2. Running shoes don’t provide as much heel elevation or do as good of a job at preventing pronation as much as cross trainers do. Cross trainers will lock your foot in place and assist in ankle flexion - however, that’s not the best reason to get cross trainers.
 
This shoe gives you more ankle support than a running shoe. The elevated heel makes it easier to flex in the ankle, thus helping you squat easier. You'll have increased stability. In addition, it has heel support and traction so that you can do lateral movements.

This shoe gives you more ankle support than a running shoe. The elevated heel makes it easier to flex in the ankle, thus helping you squat easier. You'll have increased stability. In addition, it has heel support and traction so that you can do lateral movements.

 

I will say that I do prefer a minimalist shoe, or even working out barefoot if you’re solely strength training; the reason being that you have more feedback and contact with the ground, thus giving you more natural ability to move your foot freely and to generate force into the ground with your entire foot.

Thanks for listening and I hope this helps!

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6 Ways to Choose Living Over Existing

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6 Ways to Choose Living Over Existing

Everyone has their own way of dealing with stress - retail therapy, binging on junk food, drinking tequila, etc. - but there are countless avenues to explore for a healthier and happier lifestyle. Now, when I say “stress” I’m not talking about the short bursts of stress that can actually have a positive impact on our lives by motivating us and helping us perform under pressure. I’m talking about the long-term, toxic stress in our lives that result in mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. Burn-out. If we constantly run in “emergency” mode, our bodies and minds will pay the price. Whether there’s an illness in your family, a mountain of bills, or that overbearing boss, it’s time to take action and bring your nervous system back into balance. If you haven’t guessed already, learning how to cope with stress is one of the most beneficial things we can do for ourselves. We just so happen to live in a city that is chock-full of adventures for us to explore, and it has something to offer for everyone!

Naturally, most people like routine and I do as well, to an extent. However, if I have too much of a routine and no wiggle room for a spontaneous day then I will go crazy. Some of my favorite memories have resulted from stepping out of my comfort zone and not knowing what was 30 minutes ahead of me: “It feels good to be lost in the right direction.” Sure, we have work and responsibilities that we need to keep up with… but isn’t that what the weekends are for? Climb a mountain, drive with no destination, take a new bus not knowing where it’s going. Simply get lost. I decided to rattle off just a few, simply solutions to add a little flare to your life while reducing stress at the same time!


Photo Credit : unsplash.com

Photo Credit : unsplash.com

FOR THE ADVENTURER: 

FunCheapSF - Here’s a website that makes finding an adventure effortless! They keep up with posting events going on in the Bay Area that day, week, and month. This will give you the chance to explore a new hobby or activity without breaking the bank. And as always, if you’re unsure about something, Yelp is your best friend. You’ll find yourself trying things that have never crossed your mind and maybe you’ll even find a new hobby! Corgi races? I didn’t know that existed but I’m sure happy that it does!

TIP: Try something new each week! Exploration is good for the soul.

Find a Good View! - I don’t know about you, but there’s something about being on top of the world that gives me a rush. When you take a step back from the chaos that is San Francisco, and step into a place without car horns and your daily routine, you’ll find a wave of tranquility wash over you. And a view doesn’t necessarily translate to being up high in the clouds. One of my favorite views in the Bay Area is just across the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlands. It’s sea level and has a breathtaking view of the Golden Gate and ocean. Kirby Cove can be reached by car (when the campground is open) or foot which requires a little hike down to the beach, but you won’t regret it. It can change your mood right around just by seeing it.

TIP: I bring my Eno hammock wherever I go because you can hang it up just about anywhere with trees! Some wine doesn’t hurt either.

Photo Credit : pixabay.com

Photo Credit : pixabay.com

FOR THE FOODIE : 

Make it an Event! - For those of you who like to eat, drink, and be merry,  Eventbrite has plenty of options for de-stressing! Instead of binge watching West World with a bag of chips and a beer, you’ll find that attending an event centered on food and/or drink will distract you from the actual eating and drinking part! You’ll still get the comfort that food and/or drink provides you, but the social aspect will cause you to eat slower, and therefore, feel full faster. Boom. Plus, it’s typical for these types of events to either provide samplers or smaller portions of food instead of an entire dish. Who doesn’t like to try a little bit of everything? 

TIP: Classes are offered too, so whilst you’re satisfying your stress by eating and/or drinking, you can learn a little something to take home with you too.

 


Photo Credit : unspash.com

Photo Credit : unspash.com

FOR THE SHOPPER : 

People deal with stress in a variety of ways - retail therapy - so instead of relieving stress by only spending money, make something out of it! When you’re stressed out and feeling a loss of control, shopping sometimes helps restore that sense of control again and alleviates some stress. Here’s some food for thought: become a mystery shopper and get reimbursed for your spendings by helping measure a business’ quality of service. Getting paid to shop? Sounds like a double stress reducer to me! Although, it’s not for everyone so read up on these tips before you decide to take part. If you’re not into mystery shopping, SF is full of Farmer's Markets, Flea Markets, and Street Fairs for you to explore! Indulge your senses with different smells, sights, and sounds.


Photo Credit : rawpixel.com

Photo Credit : rawpixel.com

FOR THE EXPLORER : 

Go On a Roadtrip! - Find your inner Lewis and Clark and set out on a road-trip for the weekend… and even walk the same trails as them at The Columbia River Gorge (only 600 miles!). Lucky for us here in San Francisco, we’re not too far from both the Oregon border and Southern California! If you’re feeling real adventurous, set off with no destination the first night and see where the roads take you! You’ll end up driving through towns you never would have known existed and meeting new people with all kinds of stories to tell.

TIP: Talk to the locals and get the inside scoop. New scenery is great for opening the mind and getting the creative juices flowing.

Go Camping! - We all know nature has been proven to help soothe the soul, so obviously, camping is a great de-stressor. And you don’t have to go far to get it! Our Bay Area backyard is filled with amazing spots for a card game to break out under the redwoods or stick your toes in the sand with a good book.

TIP: Half Moon Bay has a great campground right on the bay! If you reserve early enough, you can even grab a spot along the beach and wake up to a view of the Pacific Ocean! Hard to beat.

 


Long story short - de-stressing and happiness don’t have to break the bank or even require long and stressful planning, even in a city as costly as San Francisco. When we find outlets that work for us, it’s easy to flip those negative ways of coping with stress into positive ones that can create lifelong memories. Grab a friend and an open mind to unlock everything our beautiful world has to offer. What are you waiting for? Get out there!


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