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Do Shoes Really Matter When Beginning an Exercise Program (online only)
April 2010
By Karen Collins

Q: Iím going to begin a walking program.  Do the shoes I wear really matter?

A: Yes.  Researchers at the most recent American Institute for Cancer Research conference discussed results of studies on programs to help people increase physical activity, which is now identified as a key step to reduce risk of cancer and probably decrease its recurrence.  Many people have difficulty maintaining their exercise program and the researchers noted that injuries are one of the most common reasons people abandon efforts to increase activity.  Good shoes provide support that helps to decrease ankle, shin and knee injuries.  Price can reflect both quality and marketing hype, so donít assume you need the most expensive options.  Ideally, start at an athletic shoe shop where employees are knowledgeable about the needs for different activities and different types of feet.  If your feet have high arches, you need extra shock absorption and good stability to keep from sideways weight shifts that strain your ankles.  If you have flatter arches, you need good mid-foot support and stronger heel control. A toe box wide enough for your feet and good flexibility around the ball of the foot are important for us all. No matter how good your shoes, as they wear out, they no longer provide the support they did when new.  Some guides reference about how many miles you can get from your exercise shoes, but certainly when the traction on the soles is worn flat, heels are worn down, or you no longer feel the same sideways and heel support, itís time for a new pair.  If good shoes help you continue an active lifestyle without injury, they are a good investment in your health.  For more tips on choosing shoes for physical activity, check with the American Council on Exercise at  www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/fitfacts_display.aspx?itemid=2633.


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $91 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.



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