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Fitness Shoes -- Help Or Hindrance?

Julie Deardorff in the Chicago Tribune took a look at the new "fitness shoes." These are the shoes with a sole that is intentionally curved to make it unstable.

The concept is that having an unstable sole will cause the recruitment of additional muscle fibers in the legs. And this will then lead to improved fitness without increased effort.

Claim: So-called "fitness footwear" can make you skinny and tone your calf, hamstring and gluteal muscles. "Get a better butt and better legs with every step!"

But while podiatric physicians have used rocker bottom shoes for decades to help with pain in the ball of the foot, the ankle and heel arthritis, there’s little if any credible scientific evidence that these new fitness shoes provide a higher level of muscle engagement.

Well, there's the key point -- scientific evidence. It's easy to make claims, but where's the evidence? If the shoes actually work it should not be hard to prove.

You would simply get two groups of people, one with the shoes and one without, and take them into the exercise lab. Do a few measurements and see if there is any real difference. It's a relatively simple study.

"If you don’t engage in at least 30 minutes of cardio three to five times a week and resistance exercise at least twice weekly, no pair of shoes, no matter how expensive or comfortable, can get rid of cellulite or cause weight loss," said exercise science professor Michelle Olson, a human performance specialist at Auburn University."

What Olson says is correct. The way to improve muscle tone and get a lean healthy body is through real exercise. And that includes a mixture of cardio and resistance training.

The idea of getting results without any effort has obvious appeal. But it doesn't work in real life.

Footwear for athletics should not be made unstable in a quest for easy results. Exercise shoes should be a strong, sturdy, stable platform.

Then you can get out there and exert yourself for real benefits, without having to worry about instability and possible injury.

Where to start:

There is a lot of information on this site. The links below will get you off to a good start.

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These are some of our most popular pages. They are also some of the most helpful if you are finally ready to lose weight.

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