How to Choose Healthy shoes

shoes

Gentlemen (and ladies too) are recognized by their shoes. But are your shoes gentle on your feet? Many of us choose wrong shoes which produce pain in the feet, knee or back. Here is a guide on choosing a safe pair of shoes.

Cut down on heel

Heels are attractive and they make you look tall, but for a price. They tip the base of our body forwards and compromise the balance. To keep the body straight one needs to bend the knees and arch the back, leading to ankle, knee and back pain. Moreover, they jeopardize the weight distribution, which may produce flat foot or a bony spur on the heel. Platform heels are no good either. Avoid a negative heel though, where the toes sit higher than the back of the foot. It is best to wear a shoe with half an inch heel. If you must wear heels for an occasion, wear it for a short while and keep a comfy pair of shoes nearby.

Don’t wear pointed shoes

People who wear pointed shoes for a long time can be recognized by their big toe angling outwards. This causes pain on the base of big toes, corn, callus and arthritis of foot. It is best to wear a shoe with enough room in the front for all your toes.

Tie the laces

Most people do not untie their shoes. They keep the laces loose and slide in an out of their shoes. A shoe needs to fit snugly around the feet to be protective; a loose shoe will produce abnormal motion and result in foot pain. Try running with a loose shoe and you will realize how ineffective they are. If you wear push in shoes even then make sure they fit firmly around the ankle.

The soles

The outer sole should reasonably straight; the front upturned versions put pressure on the base of the toes. The front part needs to be bendable near the toe area for normal weight transmission. Running shoes or sports shoes have a springy cushion heel that helps in shock absorption, they are good.

The insole has to be firm with some cushion. Many shoes have insoles that conform with the natural curvature of the foot, whereas others can be purchased separately. Silicone gel insoles that fit inside your shoes are a good option if you stand for prolonged amount of time.



Keep multiple pairs

Shoes need to recover from the stresses that we impose on the throughout the day. If you wear shoes the whole day it is a smart idea to keep at least two pairs and alternate between them every day. Also, change your socks daily to keep the skin of the feet healthy.

Vasamgsi jirnani..

Throw away the old pair of shoes once they are worn out, as they will do more harm to your feet than good. Watch the shoe from behind. Is it standing straight or is tilted on one direction? Other signs of aging are cuts and loosening of parts. Also, you can tell by the absence of comfort that your shoes now provide.

If you walk 30 minutes in a day with your normal speed then you probably take more than 1.2 million steps in a year and your shoes has to withstand that amount of load. I would be wise to invest on a  good pair of shoes that can handle this pressure and protect your feet.

Night Cramps

night cranps

A sudden intense pain wakes you up from sleep in the middle of the night.  You clutch your leg in darkness and confusion and only thing you can do is wait for the pain to go away. Your muscle feels hard, almost like rock, and you can’t move your leg. Eventually the pain goes away, but the soreness lingers on for the next day or two.  That’s Nocturnal muscle cramp for you.

What is it?

Night cramp is an extremely common condition where some muscle (usually in the leg) contract involuntarily and strongly causing pain. This happens due to overuse, dehydration and, some say, electrolyte imbalance. Trigger points in the gastrocnemius muscle may produce cramps too.

What to do?

If you are waking up with a cramp, stretch it. They usually occur in calves or hamstrings. The adjoining figures show how to stretch them. Alternatively you can massage the muscle to make the pain go away.  Then drink some water and go back to sleep.  Sleep deprivation may trigger the cramp, so make sure you have adequate sleep.

The morning after may be a little sore in the area of cramp. Keep stretching lightly throughout the day at intervals. Go easy on strenuous activities. Try to correct water and electrolyte depletion.



Water

Drink lots of water. Our kidneys filter about 200 liters of blood every day and discard about 1% of it as urine. Chances are you are not refilling it. Drink 2-3 liters a day.

Electrolyte

Refueling the electrolytes would not be such a bad idea. For the day after the cramp, get a pouch of simple ORS and follow the instructions. Most of us use too little water with ORS (to get a better taste), which would result a hypertonic solution, and may not serve the purpose.

For long term maintenance, choose foods enriched with potassium, calcium and magnesium. In our regular diet potassium is aplenty in potato (the name itself indicates that, right?), coconut water and banana. Calcium is in milk & egg, magnesium is in nuts, beans, spinach, tomato, milk. They should be sufficient to maintain your electrolyte levels.

Posture and Ergonomics

They are often the main culprit. Cramps may happen when a muscle cannot handle abnormal stresses. Investigate your daily activities. Subtle adjustments in the working posture, in the shoe or even in the driving seat frequently provide long term solutions.

Hormones of Happiness

exercise-smile

Endorphins are a group of chemicals which when released, make us happy. They are also body’s own painkiller and are many times more potent than the commonly used pain medication. Our body thus has this fountain of happiness right within us. The secret is, how to get this fountain flowing?

Endorphins

Endorphins are morphine like substances produced naturally within our body. Their actions in the brain are similar to opium: creating a state of happiness, reducing stress and pain.  The body releases endorphins during situations such as excitement, sharp pain, love, sex, consumption of chili and during specific exercises.

Exercises and endorphins

Endorphin release can be consistently produced by exercise. It means you can make yourself happy simply by performing exercises. People who exercise regularly already know this. Whenever they miss a session, they feel lethargic, that is because they miss the happiness produced by endorphin. Important thing to notice is, not all exercises release endorphin. So if you want to exercise for happiness and stress release, you need to do some specific exercises.

Which exercises to perform?

Endorphins are released only by relatively strenuous exercise. You can run or you can cycle; you need to do this as fast as possible (of course after warm up). If you like lifting weight then lift to you your maximum capacity.  A minimum of 20-30 minutes of exercise is needed. If you are unable to sustain high intensity exercise for so long then alternate between heavy and light exercises.

So go ahead, work out your way towards happiness!

Health Benefits of Exercise

physicalactivity

Ex Cricketer Mohd. Azharuddin once said, just like our body needs three staple meals a day, it needs one session of physical activity. Most of us deprive ourselves from this basic need of our body and face the consequences of poor health.

Caveman didn’t go to gym

From prehistoric era till just a few years ago, a normal healthy adult would get sufficient physical activity from his daily chores. Today’s urban lifestyle has taken away that advantage from our life, so it becomes essential that we exercise. Daily.

How much exercise do we need?

American college of sports medicine, the authority in the field of exercise recommends 150 minutes of physical activity every week. That means about 25 minutes, 6 days a week. But it does not have to be evenly divided like that. You can play an hour of tennis twice a week and go for brisk walking of 20 minutes twice to fill your quota. Or you can squeeze out three 10 minutes sessions of exercise in a working day. Do whatever, just make sure you have completed your quota.

What if I don’t exercise?

Chances are that you are going to be ill with what we call lifestyle disease, some are:

  • Diabetes

  • Hypertension

  • Obesity

  • Atherosclerosis, fat deposition on the wall s of artery

  • Stroke

  • Heart attack

  • Certain cancers

  • Osteoporosis

  • Undue fatigue, tiredness

  • insomnia

  • Depression

Seems familiar? It is high time you exercise. There is no age bar!

Well, I will start exercise, what benefits can I expect?

Immediately after exercise

Better mood: After exercise you will feel you are on top of world (called “exercise high”), the sensation is similar to a shot of opium. This is because the body releases a set of chemical, called endogenous opiates (opium like substances).

Day 1

You will get a good night’s sleep.  A bout of exercise is the cheapest and safest sleeping pill.

After a week

Improved appetite

Improved skin quality

Stabilized blood glucose level

Improved blood pressure

Reduced body fat

Long term

Increased lifespan. Ex Mr Universe  Manohar Aich proves it.

Stronger muscles, making you leaner and muscular.

More stamina, more energy: you will not feel tired midway during the day.

Stronger bones: less chances of fracture.

Better lipid profile (low cholesterol), reduces risk of stroke and heart attack.

Better immunity.

Reduced stress level, again, exercise is the cheapest and best antidepressant!

Better self image. Why do you think baba Ramdev is so confident?

Better memory, concentration and cognition. Why do you think baba Ramdev is so smart?

Improved sex life! Manohar Aich claimed to have virility well into his eighties!

The fine print

A few warnings. Too much too soon is bad. You can not be a Schwarzenegger in one day. Warm up and cool down is essential. You can expect some soreness in first few days. Do remember to take advice of your doctor if you have and serious disease, especially uncontrolled diabetes. Do not stop any medication on your own.