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The Bullhorn, Issue #013 -- Monthly Motivator for April 2007
April 15, 2007

Just the right push to succeed!

Got the blues?...
Try new shoes!

One of the nice things about walking & running is that there’s no need for any special equipment…or is there? Fitness walkers and runners are lucky in that their hobbies are low-cost, but make sure that you don’t ignore the need for good foot wear. Running shoes are much more than glitter & glitz. They are impact-absorbers for your joints. Every time your foot strikes the ground, which can be more than 2,000 times per mile, the impact is absorbed by your shoes, your muscles, your tendons, and ultimately by your joints. As more shock makes it to your joints, it increases the risk of pain, discomfort, and even injury. We can keep these impacts on the low-side by reducing our body weight, drinking plenty of water to keep our joints and muscle fibers hydrated, and by wearing shoes that will absorb the initial foot-strike impact.

The majority of running shoes use a foam mid-sole layer or rubber-encased air cushion to absorb the shock. A shoe with a hard-rubber sole and minimal cushion will transfer a lot more shock through your body than shoes meant for running (i.e. “Chuck Taylors” are not good running shoes ;-). As time goes on and miles get logged on running shoes, this foam and rubber cushion layer gets stiffer and absorbs less and less shock…thereby transferring the pounding up through your legs and into your joints. This is why most manufacturers recommend replacing running shoes every year or every 400 miles, whichever comes first. I used to wear my shoes until the sole rubber wore down to the foam layer (500-600 miles). I noticed a trend of knee and hip pain that would come towards the end of my shoe’s life and then the pain would slowly dissipate when I got new shoes. When I started replacing my shoes every 400 miles, the joint pain has gone away. Running shoes are simple, yet very effective equipment for walkers and runners. If you have minor aches and pains in your joints, a pair of fresh shock-absorbing shoes may save you a lot of discomfort.

Many competitive runners like to wear racing flats, spikes, or waffle racers for their light-weight construction and competitive advantage. And while these are a great racing tool, make sure that you wear the right shoe for the right race and save them for racing only. There are some racing flats that have a good amount of cushion for distance runners like the New Balance RC550, the Nike Marathoner, or even the Nike Mayfly for shorter races. And while most XC racing flats are good for 5k trail races, they have zero cushioning and are not a suitable choice for long distance road races. Track shoes & spikes are also not good choices for road running, and are more suited for the soft surface of a track not for the pounding of a 10k or ½ Marathon. Make sure that you get a shoe that will not only help you perform your best, but one that will protect you from injury as well.

There are many brands, makes, and models of running and walking shoes on the market. A good running shoe store can help guide you through the types that are right for you. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to protect your legs and joints. Good running shoes are a great investment for a worthwhile cause and a fun hobby. Happy trails!

Choosing your Legacy

So many people scoff at fitness and exercise, because they just don’t have “that kind of time to spend on themselves”. And for those of us that do exercise, this statement could suddenly make us feel selfish. Is the time spent on exercise truly just “me-time”? OK…so exercise does reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases; along with reducing stress, depression and lowering cholesterol; and it can lead to a longer and happier life…but, I digress…is it really just a selfish use of our time?

Time is the currency of life and it should reflect our priorities. Isn’t our health a worthy cause to spend it on? If we place a low value on our own health & well-being, what value would we add to the world around us? Fitness and exercise goals are not selfish aspirations...they’re methods of self-improvement that can and will lead to a greater common good.

So, how can your exercise routine possibly lead to a greater common good, you ask? Consider this…Perhaps the neighbor that has seen you walk down the street on even the coldest of nights will finally muster up the courage to put on their jacket and join you, or maybe your actions will give them the willpower to restart their diet or exercise program. Or perhaps that person that always takes the elevator will finally follow you up the stairs one day. Or what if your children see you jogging each morning and someday aspire to adopt similar habits themselves later in life. Our actions affect others. Our actions motivate others. Our actions leave a subtle impression that can influence the world in ways that our words never can.

The lack of good eating and fitness habits is having a dire impact on our society. Obesity is costing us billions of dollars in health care and countless years in quality and quantity of life. This epidemic did not come about overnight, nor will it go away overnight. The problem of obesity came about over generations of bad habits. The elimination of obesity will happen one person at a time…one snack at a time…one step at a time. It’s up to us and our actions. We have a choice about the legacy we leave behind when it comes to health and fitness, as our actions will undoubtedly affect the world and its future generations. Someday, we will be defined by our actions…what will your legacy be?

Exercise of the Month:
Take a Hike!

For many of us, Spring is in the air…nature is coming alive with budding trees and flowering landscapes…what better time to get out there and enjoy it! You don’t have to go to a national park to get the full-hiking benefit…you can walk around a tree-lined neighborhood, go to a local park, or look at a map for the closest wildlife preserve, protected forest, or other open area. It may surprise you how many trails are near you when you start to look. Even major urban areas have some beautiful parks with some really well-maintained trails. Hiking is a great exercise that burns approximately 100 calories per mile (like running), and possibly even more depending on the hills and terrain. It’s fun taking a stroll through nature, and it’s a great overall exercise for the mind, body, and soul…fit it in where you can!

New Pages!!

Every month, The Fitness Motivator adds new pages and helpful resources to assist you in meeting your fitness goals. Some of these pages came about from YOUR ideas (thank you!), while others are based on personal lessons-learned. If you haven’t been on the site in awhile, here are just a few of the pages added since the last newsletter:

Elliptical Buying Tips: Some tips and factors worth considering if you're in the market for an elliptical machine.
10k Training Plan:
Want to run a 10k? Try this 8-week plan & helpful race tips.
Calories Burned Running:
Want to burn some's hard to beat running!
Fitness Ventura:
Going to Ventura? Here's the info you need to find the best places to walk, hike, & run!
The Long Run:
Tips for the distance runners training for 1/2 marathons & longer.
Lacking motivation? Try igniting the source within.
Organizing a Race:
Some creative ideas and tips to lose a few pounds…every bit helps!

Sound Off!

If you have any feedback (positive or negative), success stories to share, or suggestions for future articles, please feel free to drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you and we take all feedback, suggestions...and yes, even criticism very seriously. We’ll use this information to improve our newsletter and The Fitness Motivator site to help you and others like you attain your fitness goals.

Keep up the great work & stay focused on your goals. Best of luck!

Encouragement to Succeed!

P.S. - Please feel free to forward this to a friend!

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