Exercising in worn out athletic shoes increases the stress on your joints, which could lead to overuse injuries. Use this buying guide to determine when you need a new pair, and how to get the best fitting shoe for comfort and performance.
When to Buy a New Pair
The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine recommends that athletic shoes be replaced every 350 to 550 miles. This is a wide range because of the many factors that influence the lifespan of the shoe. Body weight, how your foot strikes the ground, and your exercise surface (treadmill, trail, or pavement) all play a role in how quickly your shoes wear down. Any changes in foot, knee, or back pain, or visible wearing on the soles of the shoes, are signs that you need a new pair.
Assess Your Foot Type
Before buying new shoes it’s important to know your foot type. Look at an old pair of shoes and take note of the worn areas of the sole. Next, perform the “Wet Test”. Simply wet the bottom of your bare foot with water and then step on a surface that will show a footprint such as dry concrete or a flattened brown paper bag. The patterns of wear on your shoes and the Wet Test assess pronation. There are 3 basic types of pronation.
Your shoes will show wear on the outside of the foot at the heel and forefoot.
Wet Test: On your footprint you will see your toes, forefoot, far outside of the foot, and heel. There will be no imprint of water at the arch.
Supinated is also called underpronated.
Look for shoes with extra cushioning to assist with shock absorption.
Your shoes will wear on the inside of the forefoot.
Wet Test: You will see almost a full footprint depending on how severe your overpronation.
A stability or motion control shoe will give you the support you need in the foot and ankle.
Avoid shoes with extra cushioning and those that are highly curved. These shoes will not give you enough stability.
The wear on your shoe will be evenly distributed over the sole.
Wet Test: Your footprint falls somewhere between supinated and overpronated. You will not have a full footprint, but more of your arch will come into contact with the paper than in the footprint of a person who is supinated.
This is the ideal level of pronation.
There are many neutral shoes available, but avoid motion control and stability varieties as they may reduce your mobility.
Get the Right Shoe for Your Activity
Cross trainers are ideal if you do a wide variety of activities. If you perform a specific type of exercise 2 to 3 times a week, buy a sports-specific shoe. Walking shoes have flexible soles and support the natural movement of the exercise. Running shoes have more cushioning to provide better shock absorption. Trail shoes provide better traction for rough terrain. Consider your exercise environment when buying shoes. More mesh allows for better air movement and cooling. Some shoes have more reflective areas making them better for nighttime exercise.
Find the Right Fit
When shopping, you can tell a lot about a shoe by picking it up for a closer look. Mark Fenton, walking expert and former host of PBS’s "America's Walking", suggests that you twist, bend, and poke shoes before buying. A walking shoe should bend in the forefoot while a running shoe bends more towards the arch. When the shoes are placed on a flat surface, the toe of the shoe should rock forward when you press on it. Press the heel and it should rock slightly back.
When trying on shoes, pay special attention to the heel and the toe area (called the toe box). You should have about the length of a thumbnail between your longest toe and the front of the shoe. A toe box that allows your toes to move will help prevent pain and cramping in the foot. The heel should fit firmly, yet comfortably, and it should not slip.
Buy your shoes late in the day or within an hour of exercising to accommodate for foot swelling. Wear the socks that you will be wearing during exercise. Most importantly, don't buy shoes that are uncomfortable in hopes of breaking them in. They should be comfortable the first time you wear them.
These grocery shopping tips will help you fill your kitchen with nutritious foods.
Choose a variety of colors and types of fruits and vegetables. Green leafy vegetables (lettuce, kale), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), root vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes), berries, and citrus fruits are all nutrient-packed choices.
Select in-season produce as often as possible for the best flavor.
Pick up a few fresh herbs. Cilantro, mint, and parsley add flavor and nutrition to your meals.
Breads, Cereals, and Grains
Choose foods with "100% whole grain" listed on the label or in the ingredient list. Pasta, pita bread, and tortillas all come in great-tasting, whole grain varieties.
Locate a supermarket or health food store that sells cereals and grains in bulk bins. Buying from bulk bins allows you to try smaller amounts of different grains and flours for less money.
Canned and Dry Foods and Oils
Check the label for serving sizes and sodium content of all canned goods.
Choose "no-salt added" or "low-sodium" products whenever possible.
You can pick up plenty of protein in this section. Canned and dried beans, dry lentils, and canned tuna are protein-rich choices.
Choose bottled olive and nut oils over butter and margarine for cooking and flavoring your food. These oils contain heart-healthy, unsaturated fats.
Pay attention to serving sizes on food labels. Check the "serving per container" and "serving size amount." At first glance, the calorie content may seem acceptable until you find the serving size is very small.
Beware of foods labeled "non-fat" or "sugar-free." Sometimes these products contain more calories and are no better than the original version.
Choose whole grain and baked snacks instead of fried products.
Meats, Poultry, and Fish
The Mayo Clinic recommends round, chuck, sirloin, and tenderloin for the leanest beef choices. Also look for "Choice" or "Select" beef, which is often lower in fat than “Prime” beef. Choose pork from the tenderloin, loin chops, and leg.
Breast cuts are the leanest choices when it comes to poultry. Check the labels of ground poultry as many options contain both dark and white meat and have as much fat as beef.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program provides suggestions for low-mercury fish choices that are environmentally friendly. These include albacore tuna from the U.S. or British Columbia, farmed rainbow trout, and wild-caught Alaskan salmon.
Avoid deli and processed meats, which are high in sodium.
Buy skim or 1% dairy products rather than 2%, whole milk, or cream. The products with the lower fat percentages contain the same amounts of calcium, vitamins, and minerals as their higher fat counterparts.
Choose only 100% fruit juices without added sugars.
Pick plain or low-sugar vanilla yogurts and add your own toppings, such as fresh fruit or a small amount of honey. Compared to flavored yogurts, this approach will help reduce your added sugar intake.
Buy frozen fruits and vegetables without added salt, seasonings, or sugar. When you add flavorings yourself during cooking, you can better control the nutritional content.
When you crave a frozen treat, look for frozen yogurts, ice milk, and sherbet, which have less saturated fat than ice cream.
These roasted chickpeas are a great substitute for unhealthy salty snacks. Not only will they keep your sodium and fat intake in check, they also provide protein and fiber.
Tip for the cook: The options are endless when it comes to flavors for roasted chickpeas. Experiment with other seasonings such as cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, dried basil, or garlic powder.
Serving Size 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2.8g
2%Saturated Fat 0.4g
Trans Fat 0g
Total Carbohydrate 20.5g
Dietary Fiber 7.2g
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Yield: 4 servings
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
1 (15 oz.) can low-sodium chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about ½ a medium lemon)
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp curry powder
¼ tsp salt
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray or olive oil.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas in a colander. Transfer them to a clean dish towel (or paper towels) spread over the counter top. Set aside to let the chickpeas dry on the towel.
In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, curry powder, and salt. Gently stir in the chickpeas until they are all evenly coated with the seasonings.
Spread the chickpeas in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and use a spoon or spatula to gently stir the chickpeas. Return to the oven and bake for 10 more minutes, or until browned and slightly crunchy. Best served warm.
A high-calorie nighttime snack can quickly undo a day’s worth of healthy eating. If late night snacking is sabotaging your effort to lose weight, consider making one or two small changes to reduce the temptation to eat after dinner.
Habit or hunger
It is important to determine whether you are snacking out of habit or hunger. If you eat an early dinner at 5:30 p.m., and you stay up until midnight, then you are probably experiencing true hunger around 9:30 p.m. Listen to your body and feed it when it's hungry. Choose healthy snacks that are just filling enough to take away the hunger. A low-fat yogurt or a cup of hot tea with toast and nut spread will usually do the trick.
If you finish dinner and are sitting in front of the TV an hour later with a bag of chips, then you are probably snacking out of habit. Habits can be difficult to break, but the good news is that you're not fighting physical hunger.
Close the kitchen
Clean up the dinner dishes immediately following your meal. With a clean kitchen, you are less likely to dirty a dish for your snack. Once the kitchen is spick-and-span, turn off the lights and close the kitchen for the night. If there is no door on your kitchen, put a chair in the middle of the walkway or in front of the refrigerator or food pantry. Make a sign that says "Kitchen Open" on one side and "Kitchen Closed" on the other and hang it in a prominent place. Get creative with ideas that will remind you to stop and think before you begin snacking, which will help you break the habit.
Create a nighttime ritual
Once the kitchen is closed, head to the bathroom and brush and floss your teeth. This age-old tip works very well because it signals that eating is done for the day.
Snacking most often occurs while you are standing in the kitchen, sitting in front of a screen, or driving in the car. It's hard to listen to your internal body cues when you're multitasking. Always sit down at the table and eat mindfully when you have a meal or a snack. Once you do this, mindless snacking will feel foreign.
Change your schedule
Shake up your nightly routine for a while until your urge to snack at night lessens. If you simply can't resist snacking while watching TV, you may need to replace your TV watching for a few weeks with something that is not associated with snacking. Pull out a card game, walk the dog, engage in meditation, or call a friend. It may be the perfect way to gain a new hobby or revisit old hobbies. Once you develop a new routine, you will be less likely to snack out of habit.
Whether you are just starting out or you’re only a few pounds from your ideal weight, it’s easy for distractions to steal your focus. Here are 9 ways to stay motivated, overcome challenges, and reach your weight loss goal.
Save the date.
Keep a calendar specifically for listing milestones in your journey towards fitness. For example, the morning you ignored the donuts in the breakroom, the day your weight finally dropped into the 100’s, and the the evening you made it through every lunge in exercise class -- these small achievements deserve recognition. Circle the date and write a description of your success. This calendar will remind you how far you have come in both weight loss and self-improvement.
Keep your stats in a prominent place.
As you start your journey to fitness, track more than just your weight. Track inches lost around your waist, body fat percentage, blood pressure levels, miles you’ve walked, or new healthy foods you’ve added to your meals. Write them down and post them in a spot you will see frequently. Any change for better health is something to be proud of.
Pictures are an easy and powerful way to track how far you’ve come. Take before photos, and then take photos again at regular intervals, such as every 3 months. Hang these photos on the fridge, or make a scrapbook that you can flip through regularly. Seeing your progress is the perfect motivator to skip an unhealthy dessert, or to grab your shoes and get to the gym!
Keep a journal.
Tracking food intake is essential for weight loss, but don’t let your journaling stop there. Writing down thoughts and feelings forces you to pay attention to positive changes. If you do not take the time to assess progress, the small changes in physical, emotional and mental health go unnoticed. Personalize your journal to meet your own needs. Record what makes you happy, when you feel stressed, and things you are thankful for.
Make the weight a physical object.
A number on the scale is more motivating when it becomes something you can touch and feel. Find an object that represents the weight you will lose, and the weight you’ve already lost, whether it is 3, 25, or 50 pounds. It may be a bag of food from the pantry, a dumbbell, a medicine ball or a combination of all three. Pick it up periodically, feel the magnitude of this weight and how it slows you down. This exercise should not cause you to beat yourself up over the weight that you need to lose. The purpose is to remind you of what your body is dealing with on a daily basis, and the huge difference in how you feel as the weight begins to come off.
Try on old clothes.
As your body begins to change, your first thought may be to celebrate by getting rid of all the clothes that no longer fit. Keep a few around, and try on old favorites as you get close to your goal weight. Notice how they feel, and how your body has changed for the better.
Test your fitness.
It is great to have long-term fitness goals such as running a half marathon or completing a triathlon, but smaller goals can be just as effective at showing your progress. Maybe you can now do 10 standard push-ups instead of doing them with bent knees. When starting your exercise plan, test how many repetitions of push-ups, crunches, and lunges you can complete. Every few weeks, test yourself and see how many more you can do as your fitness improves.
Try one new thing each week.
Pick one new thing to try each week that supports your new healthy lifestyle. It may be eating a new vegetable, wearing a new piece of clothing, or trying a new leg exercise at the gym. Be adventurous and choose something you never considered in the past. Adding something fresh and exciting to a plan that has become monotonous will provide motivation.
Make sure that your weight loss goal is flexible. Ideal weight recommendations are simply that - recommendations. You may find that after losing 15 pounds you feel strong, lean and energetic and that further weight loss results in weakness and hunger. Listen to your body and trust the feedback that it provides. You will know when you reach a healthy weight that is right for you.