best running shoes

The importance of picking the right footwear for exercise

When it comes to buying fitness equipment, sports shoes are the most important item you will buy. The wrong decision could have a serious adverse effect on your health, as the feet endure a large amount of pressure during athletic activities. Different sports shoes support your feet in different ways, so if you play a variety of different sports, it is recommended to purchase specialist shoes for each one, as opposed to using one pair for all.

Aerobic trainers

For aerobics work, you should look at a fitness shoe that provides flexibility, support and cushioning. This will absorb some of the impact of intense aerobic exercise while also lessening the shock to the feet. Design wise, you are looking for a thick upper strap to protect the forefoot, a good arch design to cope with the side-to-side steps of aerobics and a soft leather upper for comfort. A mesh-cloth lining is also recommended to absorb moisture and keep the feet cool.

Running shoes

The running shoe is the main sports shoe you definitely shouldn’t use for anything else. Due to their flexibility, they are perfect for running as they allow the foot to flex and bend through each step, but this flexibility does not lend itself well to activities that involve a lot of sideways stepping like tennis and aerobics. Unfortunately it is not just as easy as picking just any old running shoe, as there are so many different running shoes available. You have got to think about the distance you will run and what terrain you will run on. You also need to think about how you actually run. Do you make initial contact with the ground using the inside of your forefoot, or the outside of the heel? This can affect which shoe is right for you. The best practice is to visit a specialist running shop, explain what you intend to do and they will fit the perfect shoe for you.

best running shoes

Football boots

Ill-fitting football boots can cause all kinds of problems for the feet. If you play on a variety of surfaces, such as grass and the hard-on-the-feet AstroTurf, again it is best if you have a few different kinds of boot to adapt to the different surfaces. Footballers are renowned for developing corns and calluses, and boots that are too tight can cause blackened or even lost toenails. Again comfort is key here, so make sure you get a pair that fits you properly with a football sock on, and you should be good to go.

Tennis and squash shoes

Racquet sports like tennis and squash again require specially-designed footwear. They are a lot heavier around the toe than running shoes, as tennis for example includes a lot of stop-start action, meaning you need extra protection for the front of the toes. Tennis shoes are also a lot more forgiving on the side-to-side movements common in racquet sports.

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3 Ways to Kick-start Your Fitness Regime

Given the choice of going out for a jog in the park or sitting in my lounge pants with a DVD and a pizza, I’d more often than not opt for the latter. Starting out a healthy lifestyle can be difficult, and despite the rewards that fitness brings it’s tough to take that initial step. Overdoing your fitness regime on your first try will only demotivate you, so it pays off to start off slowly and ease yourself into it. Here are a couple of things to get you started.

couch to 5k

Couch to 5k

Running is hard work, especially if you’re not used to it. Don’t expect you can just slip on a pair of running shoes and instantly be able to tackle a marathon. The Couch to 5K system eases you through the process over a period of nine weeks with the ultimate goal of you being able to run 5km, or for 30 minutes straight. It comes as a set of free downloadable podcasts with a trainer telling you when to run and walk, with alternating music allowing you to move with the beat. A combination of short bursts of running with periods of walking allows you to slowly build up your endurance and run for longer.

push ups

100 pushups

If you’re looking to build up your strength rather than your stamina and endurance, the 100 pushups challenge might be for you. This program has you do an initial test to see how many consecutive pushups you can do, then puts you into a certain banding based on your performance. What follows is a six week program that lets you work out at your own pace and gradually builds you up so that by the end of the program you should be able to do 100 consecutive pushups. The regime allows for plenty of time in between workouts for you to rest, so there’s little risk of you overdoing it.

Be your own rival

The main reason why these programs tend to work is that they give you regular benchmarks and regular goals to improve on and beat your own records. This doesn’t have to be limited to a laid out and pre-prepared plan, though. You can use this method in your day-to-day activities to ease you into getting fit. Say it takes you fifteen minutes to walk to the office every day. Tomorrow, get there in fourteen and a half minutes. The next day, get there in fourteen minutes. By pushing yourself just that little bit further each time, you’ll increase your fitness without much extra effort.

It’s more than just your health that will benefit from this. If you have a life insurance policy, living a healthier and more active lifestyle means that your life expectancy is likely to increase, meaning that your life insurance premiums should go down. So if you want to take the first step on the road to fitness but don’t know where to start, try one of the challenges or beat your own records and you’ll be in for a good head start.

This guest post was written free of charge by Jamie Gibbs of, provider of whole life insurance

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Three Running Tips for Overweight People

This is a guest post by David Dack


Overweight beginner runners face a big challenge. In fact running is hard for most people, overweight or not.  The high impact nature of this activity can lead to a myriad of injuries and health problems. However, most of the hassle can be prevented if one follows proper training strategies and guidelines.

For that, if you’re a beginner overweight runner, here are 3 guidelines to help you get the most out of your training program while steering clear of injury and setbacks.


Build The Intensity Up Gradually

The biggest mistake overweight beginners make is trying to run too much too soon at too quick of a pace. This is a recipe for disaster. And the reason why running has a bad wrap in the fitness circles. However, you shouldn’t make this mistake. I know, you may be excited about your new resolution to start running and lose weight, but don’t let overexcitement steer you toward trouble. Instead, you should start small and build the intensity up gradually.

The best way to do that is to follow a Walk-run-walk pattern. This method is simple and can help you build enough cardiovascular power without running the risk of injury or burnout. At first, make your running intervals shorter and walk until you’ve fully recovered from the running. And as the training progresses forward, aim to lengthen the running incrementally and walk for less, until you’re able to run straight for 30 minutes with ease. Remember to always stay within your skill level. Never do too much.


Running tips

Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Listen To Your Body

Your body is your best coach, it will tell when you need to keep going and when you’re overdoing the exercise and thus need to stop. That’s only possible if you’re willing to listen and adjust your approach accordingly. Overtraining leaves clues, it doesn’t creep on  you  from nowhere. Therefore, learning to spot these  symptoms before they get any worse can save you a lot of suffering and frustration.

For instance, if you feel dizzy,or  intense pain in your chest or legs while running then you ought to back off a bit and walk until you feel better. If the pain didn’t go away afterwards, you may need to prolong your recovery time and only resume your training when you’re body tells you to do so.


Take Enough Recovery

Recovery and consistent training go hand in hand. In fact, the recovery period is vital to the adaptation process. When you take recovery, you give your body the time it needs to rejuvenate and adjust to the training load, thus it gets stronger for  future workouts. Skipping recovery usually leads to extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, injury, and a painful burnout.

Therefore, make sure to space out your training days with a recovery day. If you feel your body needs more recovery, then listen to it and only resume the training when you feel okay. However, don’t confuse procrastination and real fatigue. Learn to discern between the two. Otherwise you’ll find plenty of excuse not to exercise.


The above guidelines can make of you a runner without the hassle of injury or burnout. However, real change takes place only when you put into practice what you’ve just learned. So take action now, and remember to stay within your fitness level.


About the author

David DACK is a runner and an established author on weight loss, motivation and fitness.

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