Knowing how to stay fit throughout the Autumn and winter seasons is more important than you might think if you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Here come the excuses: It’s too dark to exercise outside, it’s getting too cold to exercise, the best programs are on TV now and oh yeah in the New Year I will start a fitness regime.
Well there is no better time than now to get your fitness in check and think if you start now you will be in the better shape for the New Year party and able to tackle the calories over the holiday period.
Here are some tips to get in shape and improve your motivation:
Don’t Blame the Weather
Autumn with its kaleidoscope of colours can be a really refreshing time to take a long walk and exercise. In Winter the cooler temperatures make it idea to get in some heavier exercising and with the right clothes on you will be warm in a matter of minutes. Hiking is an idea exercise for the week-end so review our translation of our Swedish team’s tips for hiking and hiking boots here.
Nordic Walking is also a great exercise for the Autumn & Winter months and can help you get fitter quicker. Read our Nordic Walking post to learn the benefits of Nordic Walking.
Doing some gardening work such as raking the leaves can be another way of gaining some valuable exercise time plus making your area clean and tidy.
Brighten up the darkness
If you are out exercising then take a flash light and reflective vest. If you are cycling than make sure you have front and rear lights on your bike.
Avoid watching the box too much
Take time away from TV or set aside time to watch your favourite program and then head out to do some exercise. Another option is to do some stretching exercises while your looking at TV.
Take up a new sport/activity
Mix it up a little and try a new sport or new exercise regime. It is easy to get stuck in the same old routine so freshen up your activities and try something new. Rather than waiting to try something new in the New Year, try it now and then you can decide if you want to keep it up after the New Year or try something new.
Add Exercise to your daily routine
If your work is not too far away then how about cycling to work at least a day or two a week. Avoid the elevator and take the stairs.
Give yourself a treat
How about a spa and exercise week-end. Getting out of your usual surroundings and doing something new can be a great motivator, so booking a spa hotel, using their fitness equipment and having a relaxing spa at the end of the day can be a great treat.
Wear suitable clothing
If it is cold then dress in layers. It won’t take long for you to warm up so having the right clothing is essential. Look at the tags on your clothes and use “Dri-Fit” and breathable clothing. Usual it is best to have moisture-wicking fabric for your inner layer, so that sweat is moved away and you do not get a chill. A warm layer is idea for the second layer and the third layer is a protective layer like a windbreaker or heavier jacket depending on the temperature and weather.
Add customised comfort to your footwear
Adding FootBalance insolesnot only makes sense in terms of improving your stance and correcting foot malpositions but also in terms of adding comfort to your activities and exercise regime. FootBalance insoles are available with various levels of cushioning and stiffness to suit your activity whether it be a strenuerous workout or a brisk walk. It always is easier to motivate yourself if your feeling comfortable and with insoles such as FootBalance Performance perfect for those who want light, dynamic support with a minimalist feel or FootBalance Race heat, the first 100% custom footbed on the market with a built-in heating element, keeping your feet warm in cold conditions and we have many more to choose from.
So now you have no excuse left to start your winter fitness regime in comfort with FootBalance.
Your foot is the foundation of your ability to move, walk, run, jump and stand. Each of your feet and ankles has 29 different bones, accounting for over 25 percent of the bones in your body. The American Podiatric Medical Association found that 77 percent of people over 18 years suffer from foot pain.
Failure to walk and run with proper form and posture can result in tight muscles, changing the form and function of the joints in your foot. Flip flops, tight shoes and high heels can trigger changes in your foot structure leading to pain and deformity.
Simple exercises and proper footwear can make a big difference in the potential development or progression of bunions. By the time you reach age 50, your feet will likely have traveled 75,000 miles. No wonder so many people experience so much discomfort and pain.
WHAT’S A BUNION?
Bunions are an anatomical deformity possibly resulting from a congenital structural defect or may be initiated from poor foot function and tight musculature. Constricted muscles and tendons exert a strong force on the joints of your foot.
An area often exhibiting deformity from those forces is the joint between your big toe and your foot. This is where bunions commonly form. Bunions may also form on the other side of your foot, in the joint between your little toe and the long bones of your foot.
Thickened skin may also develop over the bump. This area may become swollen and inflamed, contributing to your pain and discomfort from bony changes.
When the bunion forms between the base of your big toe and the first metatarsal bone (long bone of your foot), it creates an imbalance in how your weight is distributed over your foot joints.
This increases the deformity and the discomfort. When the bunion forms between your little toe and the fifth metatarsal it’s called a bunionette.
HOW BUNIONS FORM
Although most bunions develop in adulthood, bunions may develop in adolescence as well. Among adolescents, they most frequently occur in girls between 10 and 15 years of age. Women are also at greater risk for developing a bunion or bunionette than men.
There are several factors that increase your risk of developing a bunion. You have control over some of these factors, and others are a function of your bone structure and development.
Wearing high heels
Wearing narrow shoes
Arthritis, notablyrheumatoid arthritis
Feet don’t develop properly before birth
Uneven weight bearing, which makes a joint unstable
Tight muscles and tendons
Inherited foot type
Each of these factors places your foot in an unnatural position. Consistent use and weight bearing on your foot in a poor position may encourage your muscles to become less flexible. A lack of flexibility will increase your risk of a bunion deformity.
Dr. Georgeanne Botek, head of the section of Podiatry and medical director of Cleveland Clinic’s Diabetic Foot Clinic, says, “Bunions often run in families but they can be the result of the way we walk or the shoes we wear.”
WHAT YOU’LL FEEL
Before you experience symptoms, you’ll often see the changes in your foot. A bump will begin to form on the outside of your foot just below your big toe or your little toe in the case of a bunionette. Once the bunion grows larger you may experience more symptoms including:
Pain over the skin where the bunion rubs on your shoes
Pain and soreness over the bony area
Numbness around the bunion
Swelling at the joint where the bunion formed, especially after being on your feet
Thicker skin over the base of the affected toe
Redness over the skin from rubbing on your shoes or originating deeper from inflammation at the joint
New corns or calluses on other toes as your weight is poorly distributed
Movement restriction in the affected joint
These symptoms are frustrating, painful and restrict the type of footwear you may be comfortable wearing. Without treatment and care, your bunion may grow so large that even wide-toe shoes are not wide enough to accommodate the deformity.
WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS FOR TREATMENT?
There are several different options for treatment. Personally, I believe that surgery is the very last resort you should consider. Although a surgical procedure may affect the anatomical structure, it will not address the underlying condition that caused the bunion in the first place.
I have a bunion I’ve been treating for years. Treatments have reduced my pain and discomfort and almost stopped the progression of the changes to my foot.
Bunions are permanent unless you have them surgically corrected. However, with other less-invasive treatments, you can reduce the symptoms of pain and discomfort, slow or stop the progression and improve the flexibility of your foot and joints. Ohio podiatrist Dr. Dina Stock told the Cleveland Clinic:
“For many people it may simply be a matter of wearing properly fitting shoes. Be sure to choose low-heeled, comfortable shoes that provide plenty of space for your toes and the widest part of your foot.”
7 OPTIONS FOR TREATING BUNIONS AT HOME
Try these methods at home to reduce inflammation, improve the flexibility of your foot and reduce the stress over your bunion.
1.1.Reduce the Pressure
By reducing the pressure over the bunion you may find relief from pain. Protect the bunion with moleskin or a gel-filled pad. Wear shoes that provide plenty of space in the toe box.
Shop at a store where the staff will measure your foot and fit you with the right size shoe. You might be surprised to learn that your real shoe size is not the one you’ve been buying for the last several years.
Whirlpools, warm socks, hot packs, ultrasound and massage can all increase the circulation to the area, helping to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
3.Reduce the Inflammation
Ice and curcumin or turmeric may help to reduce the inflammatory response in the bunion and reduce your pain.
If you have a bunion, you may notice that the toe with the deformity is not asflexible as the same toe on the other foot. The large toe may become so inflexible you can only move it a couple of degrees. This inflexibility contributes to the development of a bunion.
It might be tempting to treat only the toe with the bunion, but you may not get the same results as when you treat your whole foot. It’s a little like the domino effect. The way you bear weight over your feet affects how your knees, hips and lower back function.
Your big toe affects how the rest of your foot functions. When one area has problems it affects the areas around it. Watch the video below to see the proper stretches you can do at home to improve the flexibility of your whole foot.
5.Strengthen Your Muscles
Flexibility is important, and so are strong muscles. Your foot is the foundation of your daily activities and your athletic performance. Regular foot exercises, combined with improved flexibility, may improve how your foot functions and reduce the progression of your bunion.
Imbalances in the strength of the muscles in your foot affect proper walking and running form and limit full range of motion in your foot. Both factors increase your risk of injury and bunions.
To strengthen the muscles in your foot:
Pick up a washcloth or marbles with your toes to strengthen your arch.
Draw the alphabet in the air with
your big toe to strengthen your ankle.
Stand on one foot (without holding onto anything) for 10 to 20 seconds. Balancing strengthens your whole foot and improves your overall balance.
Roll a tennis ball or foam roller under
your foot to stretch your plantar fascia.
This is a tough tendon running from the
ball of your foot to your heel.
While barefoot, rise up on your toes, strengthening your calves and foot.
Lift each toe individually from your
big toe to your little toe, then put them
back down in reverse order.
While barefoot, put your weight on your heels and spread your toes on both feet as far as you can. Do this while maintaining your balance.
Wearing a night splint is another option that can help stretch the muscles around your big toe and improve your flexibility. As your toe is held in the correct position and the muscles become more flexible, the long bones in your foot are no longer being pulled out of alignment.
When study participants wore a splint at night and a shoe that’s orthotic with a toe separator during the day, they experienced statistically significant pain relief. This particular study did not note any structural changes to the foot, but it only looked at results after three months of treatment. Bunions take years to develop and may require a similar amount of time to see significant reversal of bony deformity.
DO ORTHOTICS REALLY HELP?
Orthotic is the term used to describe a shoe insert designed to change the way your foot bears weight. Orthotics are sold over-the-counter or may be custom-molded to your foot by your podiatrist. Although orthotics are popular, and used by many athletes, not all experts are convinced they are useful.
The basic function is to put your foot in a better position and take stress off of an injured area. However, giving your foot muscles a permanent vacation means your muscles will get weaker and less flexible. Orthotics decelerate the velocity of pronation and distribute the force of your footfall over a broader area, reducing the stress on any one part of your foot. Although helpful in the short term while an injury heals, they are not recommended for long-term use.
PICK THE RIGHT SHOE
The shoes you choose have a direct bearing on the health of your feet. Even if you love your flip-flops, it might be time to give them up. As you walk in such shoes, your toes increase their gripping action, causing chronic tension in your toes in a flexed position that eventually alters your balance.
The absolute right shoes for your feet might just be no shoes at all. When you surround your feet with padding and lifts to correct what shoe manufacturers perceive as defects in the way you walk, you place your foot in an unnatural position and create an imbalance in your feet and body. Thus, the muscles in your feet are not used correctly, changing the degree of strength and flexibility you should have.
Of course, there are concerns with going barefoot. You probably can’t go without shoes at work, and walking outside presents problems with sharp stones and other debris. However, when done properly, you can successfully enjoy time without shoes and, as a result, stronger feet and a reduced risk of bunions.
Spend most of your time at home out of shoes, practicing your “fox walk.” Shoes encourage you to strike your heel on the ground first, while walking like a fox is easier on your joints, knees, hips and lower back. With knees bent, the ball of your foot strikes the floor first, rolling back to your heel. Your knees remain bent, without ever locking or being straight. It’s virtually soundless and the way that children walk before they get into shoes.
YOU MAY BE ABLE TO PREVENT BUNIONS
It is much easier to prevent bunions than it is to correct them. Pay attention to the strength and flexibility of the muscles in your feet. Six-pack abs might be the cosmetic addition you want for your summer wardrobe, but they also play an important role in reducing back pain and protecting your abdominal organs.
The same is true for the muscles in your feet. By stretching and strengthening the muscles you may help prevent the development of an unwanted cosmetic change to your feet. Follow the recommended stretches and strengthening exercises, avoid wearing tight shoes or high heels, and go barefoot as much as possible while you’re at home.
Article By Dr. Mercola
Joseph Michael Mercola is an alternative medicine proponent, osteopathic physician, and web entrepreneur, who markets a variety of controversial dietary supplements and medical devices through his website, mercola.com mercola.com
SOURCES AND REFERENCES
Note: This article is originally published on Mercola.com and the author of this article is Dr. Mercola. We have re-published this article here only to share the useful foot tips among the people.
People often underestimate walking when it comes to a fitness regime, maybe because it is often considered a gentle exercise with not much impact on anything. In actual fact, walking is one of the best forms of exercise, a person can have and it has many benefits that are often overlooked. Here is a selection of them:
WALKING CAN ENERGIZE YOU
If you’re unfamiliar with regular exercise and take up walking, you may feel initially tired when you get home, but the increased supply of oxygen getting to your cells will ultimately make you feel more energized, giving you the ability to function better generally.
IT CAN HELP YOU SHED THE POUNDS
A brisk walk burns around 200 calories an hour and regular walking will also tone your lower body.
IT CAN STRENGTHEN YOUR BONES
Walking is actually classed as a weight bearing exercise (which means your legs and feet support the weight of your body). If you walk regularly, it can strengthen your bones and reduce the risk or effects of osteoporosis (a condition where bones become brittle and fragile).
IT IS BETTER FOR YOUR BUDGET
A lot of people will make the excuse of “not being able to afford it” when it comes to exercising. Whilst it is certainly true that you do need some money to join exercise/sports classes or to pay for gym membership, there is no reason why walking need cost any money at all. There is also no great outlay for expensive equipment (although decent footwear is strongly recommended).
You can do as little or as much as is necessary without it costing any more!
YOU WILL BENEFIT FROM A BETTER CONNECTION WITH NATURE
Being outdoors can improve your general wellbeing and concentration as well as improving your mood and lowering your stress levels.
IT IS GOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN
Although walking won’t fully guarantee against Alzheimer’s or dementia, it has certainly been linked to keeping your mind focused and sharp. It can raise your self-esteem and can reduce the affects of depression.
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE BORING
One aspect that may put people off from walking is they think it might be boring. This needn’t be the case if thought is put in to where you want to walk, and how often. It might be an idea to set yourself some goals, especially if you are new to exercising, and to build up gradually.
If you enjoy your own company, perhaps you could listen to some music through headphones while you walk or you could listen to audio books covering interesting topics; or if you prefer the company of others, there are plenty of clubs around devoted to walking. You could always ask a friend to join you, as, if you chat away, you will hardly even notice that you are exercising.