Monday, January 30, 2006

5. Invest in a good pair of running or walking shoes. Hold off on the gym membership for now.

I know what you're thinking. "If I buy a gym membership or some exercise equipment, I'll stay motivated to exercise because I wouldn't want to let the money go to waste. " Believe me, you'll find excuses for letting it go to waste.

The truth of the matter is that you don't need a gym to get started. What you need is to make exercise a regular part of your life. Once you have established a routine and have proven that you can stick to it, then consider stepping up to the next level by committing to a gym.

In the meantime, go buy yourself a decent pair of running or walking shoes and hit the sidewalks near your home or work. I can't stress enough the importance of a good pair of shoes.

For years I didn't think my body was designed for running. Whenever I tried it my legs were full of aches, pain and fatigue. Then, by luck in college one day, a sporting goods store was having a sale on running shoes. Out of random chance I picked out the Asics Gel 123. I realized something pretty soon thereafter. I could run in these shoes and I didn't get the aches, pains or fatigue. I could run further and I felt great. Now, 15 years and 6,000 running miles later I'm still ache and pain free.

Over the years I've tried other brands and a cheaper Asics model three times, to my disappointment. Within two or three jogs in the other models, the old aches and pains came back. I switched back to my model and wah-lah, gone. The model is now called Asics GT-2110.

I believe everyone has a solemate (I couldn't resist), that is a shoe that will work well for them. If you haven't found your's yet, give my Asics model a try. I have a severe pronation (duck-footed: strike the outside of my heel and roll to the instep) and high arches. While most reviews of the Asics shoe don't specifically recommend it for me, it works. The gel in the sole absorbs teh shock of striking pavement, the arch structure cradles and supports my high arches and the wide and cushiony heal tread stabilizes my odd gait as my foot makes contact.

Furthermore, I can tell when the shoe is wearing out. Slowly, but surely, at about 375 - 400 miles the aches and fatigue start to work back into my muscles. I get a new pair and, again, wah-lah, those pains usually go away within one or two jogs.

I've talked with many people who have recently taken up jogging but complain of soreness. I ask them how old their shoes are and they say 4 or 5 years. Yikes. Nobody will continue to exercise through the pain. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a pair of nice shoes. And don't scrimp $30 or $40 on cheap pair. Remember, you're saving money from not joining a gym.

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