Key Optimal Health

Physical Health

So much has been written about the subject of physical health in the categories of health and wellness, diet and weight loss, fitness and bodybuilding etc. In this article I will primarily deal with physical health in its internal aspect which includes building a healthy immune system, detoxifying the body, healthy and quick elimination, and nourishing the cells with proper nutrition. Aging itself can be slowed down by keeping the internal aspect of our physical health up to par. Wouldn’t you love to have a healthy, youthful, energetic, strong, lean body which is free of disease, sickness and pain well into adulthood beyond the age of 40? It all narrows down to what type of food we put into our bodies – either food filled with toxins and poisons, or healthy, living, vital food.

Mark and Patti Virkler, in their inspiring book “Eden’s Health Plan – Go Natural” write:

“Food is intended to furnish the body with all the live elements needed for the regeneration of its cells and tissues. If the body fails to be healthy, the lack or deficiency of regenerative elements in the food is the cause of, and the responsibility for, whatever ailment, sickness or disease overtakes it. Our bodies seek homeostasis, equilibrium, balance. This equals health. When given the right building blocks to work with, the body maintains itself in health.”

These building blocks can be found in whole, unbleached, organic grains, rice (wild rice, brown rice etc.), beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, various seeds and herbs etc. Large portions of these building blocks can be found in the “super-food” family in such foods as Spirulina and Barley Grass. (A super-food is extremely rich in a large variety of vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and amino acids, and can be assimilated by our bodies very easily. Spirulina is a complete protein and is known to be very healthy.) Look in your local health food store for super green foods in powdered form. I personally sometimes use Garden of Life Perfect Food Super Green Formula.

Super-foods are known to:

  • Deter Aging
  • Massively Boost Your Immune System
  • Aid Weight Loss
  • Lower Your Cholesterol
  • Radically Improve Your Energy
  • Enhance Your Mental & Emotional Well-being
  • Boost Your Libido
  • Alkalize Your System
  • Protect against Toxins and Pollutants
  • Beautify Your Skin
  • Cleanse and Fortify Your Blood
  • Nourish and Revitalize your Systems

Fight and Protect against numerous diseases including Diabetes, Hypertension, Heart Disease, Stroke, Cancer, Arthritis, Cataracts, Osteoporosis, Acne, Obesity, High cholesterol, Age-Related Blindness…And Much More!

Again I quote Mark and Patti Virkler:

“By taking just a bit of a super-food (in capsule or powered drink form) as a supplement to your diet, you will find many wonderful things happen to your body. Essentially, the nourishment will give your body the needed resources to rebuild any broken or damaged parts and improve your body’s chances of returning to homeostasis. Testimonies of its power range from improved eyesight, to relief from back pain, to better scores in sports by world champion competitive athletes. Generally, one will experience feelings of increased energy and vitality; reduction and alleviation of stress, anxiety and depression; relief from the discomforting symptoms of fatigue, hypoglycemia, some allergies, poor digestion and sluggishness; and improved memory and mental clarity. People also experience elimination of mood swings, toxin elimination, better sleep, reduced cravings for food and sweets, lower blood pressure and many other health benefits. Then there are many specialized health problems which have disappeared as people’s bodies receive adequate nutrition through super-foods. Prostate problems have been normalized, as well as triglycerides, arthritis and diabetes, and many other severe and degenerative diseases. Basically, any and every disease will be fought off by your body, if it has the right tools to fight with. Super-foods give it the right tools. You just need to try it for thirty days and see what it may do for you. I recommend taking a product that includes several kinds of super foods, as they work together in a synergy that can have a profound effect on your health and vitality. If your body needs detoxifying first, you may experience a bit of a “tissue cleansing” during the first few days or weeks of taking the super-food as your body cleanses itself.”

Basically if we put the wrong food (and drink) into our body it weakens the immune system and opens the door for us to be susceptible to health problems of whatever sort (whether it be frequents colds and sicknesses, flues, aches and pains, sores and ulcers, weakness, sluggishness, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, heart problems, diabetes, cancer or psychological disorders such as malaise, apathy or memory problems etc., etc., etc.) Looking on the bright side a healthy immune system that is not swamped with toxins can fight off diseases successfully!

It is preferable to never be unhealthy to begin with and to eat nothing but healthy food from day one. Unfortunately it is not this way. Many have been conditioned to eat unhealthy, fattening, artery clogging foods from childhood to the grave. Many of us think it is a normal part of the aging process to start getting weaker, fatter, having more pain etc. after age 30 and onward. In many cases (definitely not all) premature aging and bodily weakening is the result of years of poor eating habits from childhood to adulthood. Due to many years of wrong eating habits it may be best to detoxify.

In the process of nourishing our cells with foods high in fiber such as vegetables, fruits, super-foods, and whole grains our body naturally detoxifies itself in the process, which in turn strengthens our immune system and slows, or in some cases, reverses the aging process. The key to optimal health as far as the physical aspect of our health goes, is to:

Eat plenty of Grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, super-foods, herbs, being sure to get plenty of exercise, pure water and clean air, excreting waste from the intestines quickly (which is a byproduct of eating plenty of fruits, fiber and vegetables). There are also natural supplements you can take such as Vitamin C, vitamins and minerals, and various antioxidants unless you are getting plenty of these from your regular diet.

I left out other important factors which contribute to overall optimal health. They included, but are not limited to, being healed of emotional traumas, maintaining a calm mental attitude, living in a spirit of prayer, faith, hope and love towards others in general, and towards God, Spirit, Higher Power in particular.

Next, I hope to share a little about the three remaining categories of health – mental, emotional and spiritual.

Mental and Emotional Health

Mental and emotional health are so closely related it is hard to separate the two. Having a healthy mind is not limited to having a keen intellect and an excellent memory. Someone can excel at this level of mental health but still be an emotional wreck, not to mention being spiritually ignorant at the same time.

Negative mental attitudes or emotions can have a direct effect on our physical health even if we are eating healthy food. Emotional traumas, anger, rage, hate, stress etc., when persisted in day in and day out, weaken the immune system and manifest in ill physical health. A negative mind, over time, often erases all the good that healthy food does for us.

Some forms of sickness, disease, and illness, as well as bad habits like smoking, drinking, drugs etc., are often external symptoms of something deeper. They are effects of a deeper cause. And until that cause is addressed and healed the symptoms will keep coming back like fruit on a tree whether in the form of ill health, disease, anxiety, bad habits of one sort or another, or in the worse case scenario cancer. Luckily there are warning signs when all is not well within.

The subconscious part of our mind is the storehouse of our emotions and memories and it is here where we need healing as far as our mental and emotional life are concerned. Sometimes negative or uneasy dreams (some of which originate from the sub conscious) are manifestations of our own fears and internal wounds. Some dreams are also messages, clothed with images we can comprehend, from our highest level of mind – the super conscious level – warning us when we are making wrong decisions, or heading in a wrong direction. In those rare cases where we are susceptible to the healing energies of the super conscious level of mind we can experience internal healing quicker than we ever imagined. More about this in a minute when I get to the spiritual aspect of health.

Along with a healthy diet it is important to think positive thoughts and maintain a positive attitude, avoiding anger and bitterness towards others. But, thinking positive thoughts and making an effort to be happy, loving, and optimistic, are only part of what is involved when it comes to the healing of our emotional life. We can only go so far by exercising will power alone, as important as it is to use our own efforts when attempting to make a change in our emotional life for the better. All our ethical standards, our rules and regulations for leading an acceptable moral life, all our positive thinking formula are a means to an end, the end being the opening and revelation of the spiritual aspect or our mind – the super conscious level of mind. This brings me to the last category of health, the spiritual category.

Spiritual Health

I have written about this subject elsewhere and will be repeating some of the information here. Keep in mind when reading this that being spiritual is not to be confused with being religious. Someone who is religious can be operating from a physical, emotional, and mental level only, but be void as far as being spiritual goes. A pseudo religious life (not to be confused with a genuine religious life) that is lived in pride, elitism, self righteousness and egoism is completely opposite of spiritual life. In context of this article being spiritual means living your life from the level of your super conscious mind, and living a harmonious life naturally from that level. This is easier said than done because our pride and ego often get in the way and cause us untold pain and suffering. But by living in harmony with the super-conscious level of our mind, and accessing the spiritual grace and energy which flow through (from God and Spirit) that same level of mind, our mental and emotional health, as well as our physical health, all fall into place and are balanced.

All our moral, ethical, religious or merely human efforts at trying to be a more loving, positive, optimistic person are a feeble way of (often unconsciously) aligning, or attempting to align, ourselves with that ever present flow of energy, light, grace, and Spirit permeating throughout all creation.

This ever present, but often unperceived and untapped, spiritual energy upholding all creation is the source of a truly happy life even when we find ourselves in the midst of negative external circumstances. It is the ultimate key to optimal health. Some call this ever present energy cosmic consciousness, super-consciousness, Christ consciousness, God, Spirit, a Higher Power etc. Some people personalize it and clothe it with a human form and then worship the person it manifests through. Ancient writings say the heavens and earth were made by the word of God and by the breath of his mouth. This is a human way of trying to accommodate a spiritual truth to the limited understanding of the human brain, using analogies, parables, particular genders, and concepts that can be understood by the rational brain. This often results in misunderstandings and even war and bloodshed in the name of religion.

The naked truth is intuitively perceived by the higher aspect of human consciousness called super consciousness. And it is this level of consciousness (Christ consciousness) that wells up from within to “save,” change, deliver, and heal us when the thick layer of ego, all the emotional blockages, wounded memories, and wrong thinking, are thinned out enough by our own efforts at self improvement. This is the truth of the “Messiah” or Savior figure often mentioned in ancient writings. Eventually we have to let go of our own strivings and let God take over.

Or, we can continue to resist the inner pull and instead live an unnatural life with the end result of disharmony on all levels physical, mental and emotional. (This is the truth about the so called wrath of God. It has nothing to do God or Spirit being angry at us. But it has everything to do with us bringing suffering upon ourselves by choosing to go our own way, not heeding the whispers and impressions of the super conscious mind either within ourselves, or speaking through dreams, visions, other people, or even through writing, art, and so on.)

Once we tap into the spiritual flow of grace then a truly changed person is the result, from the inside out. Children are closer to this level of being than adults who have been conditioned and brainwashed throughout life via peer pressure, upbringing, culture and so on. Humility is key, not pride and ego. Attaining to the spiritual level of healing consciousness is the end of all religions.

Safely Do the Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch is an easy to do exercise which doesn’t require any equipment. Just find a carpet or mat to lie on and you can do this exercise perfectly. The reverse crunch is not a difficult exercise but it’s a good place to start your quest to a flat stomach.

Here is how you should perform the reverse crunch:

  • Start Position: Lie on the floor with both legs folded, but keep your feet slightly off the floor. Both legs should be relaxed. Keep both hands palm down at both sides of your body close to your pelvis.
  • Movement: Contract your lower abs by bringing your folded knees tight to your stomach. Slowly separate your knees from your stomach but keep them slightly off the floor. Repeat.

Tips:

  1. Keep your lower back flat on the floor at all time to avoid exerting pressure on your back
  2. Close your eyes and focus on your abs
  3. If you want to create an extra intensity in this exercise, strap some leg weights to your ankles and perform the exercise.

The reverse crunch can be highly effective if done correctly. I suggest that you incorporate it into your regular abs routine.

Pre and Post Workout Protein

After analyzing my clients’ food logs, the next step is to have each client start to learn how to eat smaller portions throughout the day and make an effort to eat the right amounts during those times. This process will increase the body’s ability to burn the food as fuel rather than store the food as fat.

If you read my articles regularly you know I endorse a circuit training or interval training type mentality. I firmly believe that this style of training increases the body’s ability to burn fat, it makes working out more fun, less monotonous and it challenges your body and mind without overwhelming it.

When you start to get into the 30-45 second intervals you learn that if you really push yourself for short bursts of time, you feel more energetic, you get stronger and you see changes on your body you used to only dream about. To get the most out of any training, but specifically circuit and interval training you need to pay attention to what you put into your body before and after your workouts.

There have been so many studies about this topic that all you really need to do is type in ‘pre workout or post workout nutrition’ into a search engine and you will see tons of information pop up. But sifting through all that information is sometimes the hard part.

If I wanted to be a smart-alec I would simply type in…. eat/drink a protein supplement before and after your workout. I could stop the article right there and be done with it. But I know you like more information, so here you go.

I recently read of a study conducted over a 14 week period using the following parameters:

  • Participants were physically active but did not utilize resistance training frequently.
  • They were instructed to consume nothing but a protein shake and water within the two hours before and after their training sessions, and eat healthy and regularly the rest of the day.
  • Participants ingested 25 grams of protein in a shake pre and post workout.

It should come as no shock to you that the participants they chose had less than ideal fitness levels. For example, they didn’t frequently utilize resistance training. That already puts you ahead of the game because if you follow any of my programs you already workout with weights. What might shock you is that the group achieved significant gains in muscle fiber size, overall body fat reduction, and increased strength by doing the limited number of exercises they were asked to perform.

WIN, WIN, WIN- A result we always like to have.

Food logs often show me that until I start to review my clients’ eating habits, most do not get nearly enough protein in their diet. This is an easy and efficient way to get those much wanted supplements.

Many experts agree that a well trained male athlete should ingest 1 gram of protein for every pound they want to weigh and for women ½ to ¾ of a gram of protein for every pound they want to weight. So let’s say a woman wants to weigh 120 lean lbs, which means she should ingest 60 – 90 grams of protein per day. And a male who wants to weigh 180 lean lbs would need to ingest 180 grams of protein a day. This is very hard to do on food alone. That is what makes the shake such a delicious addition. I also recommend (whether you have issues with milk or not) using just water as the liquid. It seems to blend better and does not cause any side effects like bloating or stomach discomfort.

Protein shakes can be really tasty too. There are so many flavors out there – Chocolate, Vanilla, Orange Crème, Cappuccino, etc. You can also add things like strawberries, bananas, oranges, etc. to your shake to add fiber and extra vitamins. Most of the companies put out a reasonably good product and I am not one to endorse many things.

Most powders also come with some sample shake recipe books for you to change things up a bit. For now try to get a good shake in your diet before and after your workouts. It will satisfy your hunger, help you work out more efficiently, and give your body the proper fuel to get the most out of your day. And they can be pretty darn tasty!

Water Exercises

If nice firm and toned arms have always been something that you wanted, here is an exercise that can help you accomplish this. Begin by standing up straight in the water with your arms extended. Place a ball in front of you and push it downward in a figure eight with your hands while breathing rhythmically. This is a great workout that will provide great results. Everyone has done jumping jacks at some point. These can also be done as a water exercise as well. The water provides a resistance when performing this exercise that gives you a great workout.

Stretching exercises are great anytime for strengthening your muscles and making them more flexible. They should be done before you do any other type of exercise to prevent damage to your body, even when you are performing water exercises. Doing stretch exercises in water can help to improve your overall condition and help to improve your strength and flexibility. Always breathe in when you are extending your arms outward and breathe out when you bring them back in. Wall exercises are another one that you can do in water to help strengthen your muscles. The water helps to prevent injuries caused by straining while giving your muscles a great workout.

It is a recommended that you talk to your doctor before you begin any exercise routine. This is for your own safety and once the doctor tells you it is safe for you to begin, then you can start enjoying the benefits associated with water exercises. Studies have shown that combining swimming with regular exercises is one of the best ways to get in shape. It is also a lot of fun which makes it easier for you to continue a routine on a regular basis. If you want to stay in the best shape possible, then you should give water exercises a try. You may be surprised at all the benefits you can receive.

Facts About Cellulite

Figuring things out later on in life is ok, at least you figured it out, but having the ability to figure some things about earlier on in your life, will definitely be something that works out much better. Get your life in order. Sit down and try to write down a list of things that you hate about yourself, then take the time out to write down a list of things that you like/love about yourself. Look at that list really closely for a moment or two and spend the rest of your day just trying to take it all in, so that you can start figuring some things out for yourself sooner rather than later. Cellulite is not a medical condition that is going to kill you, it is not a disease, it is really nothing for you to be overly concerned about.

Yes, if something makes you unhappy you should make every attempt to correct the issue, if there is something that you can do about it. For the things that are completely out of your control, leave it alone, forget about it for awhile, start focusing on the things in your life that you can possibly make some changes to, including your health, both mental and physical and if curing yourself from your cellulite problem brings you enormous happiness, then I suppose you are doing nothing wrong. If it gives you a good feeling and is not harming anyone else along the way, just continue going for it because obviously there is nothing wrong with what you are attempting to do to make changes in your life.

Get the facts straight before determining whether or not something is bad or good, right or wrong, ugly or pretty. Know what you are talking about before you say it or even think it for that matter. If cellulite is preventing you from going places with your friends or family members, then you should start talking to your doctor about coming up with some type of plan that can help you to get rid of your cellulite once and for all. Not everyone wants to tell people about their concerns, especially if they feel that it is over something silly. They do not want to be judged in any way. Do it on your own, you are more than capable. Read up about the facts on cellulite and the different methods that actually do work, so that you can start focusing on making the changes that will bring you happiness.

Washboard Abs

Quick washboard abs must necessarily start with a change to your diet. Any foods with high fat content, low or inefficient protein structures and not enough fiber can be devastating to your abs. Eating a high protein diet is not enough, and you need to balance that protein with a lot of fruit and as little fat as you can. If you eat protein and fat together, your body would much rather use the fat for fuel than the protein, and you will not be able to make use of all of that protein you are eating.

The key to getting quick washboard abs is to eat a high-protein, low-carb meal at least two hours before you exercise. A piece or two of fruit should accompany this, to give you enough energy and sugar to want to exercise in the first place! A protein shake made of whey protein is an excellent way to prep for your workout, but make sure you eat nothing for an hour before you hit the gym. Your after meal workout is also essential, because your body has used up a lot of its fuel breaking down your muscles, and needs more protein to build them up and sugar to keep your blood glucose levels where they should be. Remember that maintaining healthy eating is absolutely essential when you want to build muscle or burn fat – without the right nutrition your efforts will be wasted.

Quick washboard abs are all about the exercises you do, and a lot of people misunderstand the exercises they need to perform to develop muscles quickly and keep them. Begin your workout with ten minutes on a treadmill or bicycle – this will speed up your respiration and metabolism, making it easier for your muscles to get the fuel they need to bulk up. Forget about sit ups and crunches – do slow, heavy resistance exercises with long time intervals. Your stomach is one of the few areas that can handle a very long time interval, and doing fewer reps can greatly reduce the damage you do to your hips, neck and back.

Experiment with different exercises to avoid sit ups and crunches. These will work, but they will definitely not get you quick washboard abs. Use leg lifts, vertical bicycle kicks and water aerobics to get the most out of your time at gym. One new exercise that is helping a lot of people develop washboard abs is based on a push-up, believe it or not. Get two dumbbells with round weights, place them on the floor and take up the push up position, leaning on the dumbbells. Now roll one forward without moving your other hand, stretching your body at an angle. Roll back, and roll the other side forward, using your still arm as an anchor.

After only two reps you should start to feel a massive burn in your sides and lower abdominals. Do three sets with low reps and long time intervals, and you should develop quick washboard abs in no time at all! The best part about this exercise is that it puts almost no strain on any part of your body besides your stomach.

Rotator Cuff Stretches

The tendons of the rotator cuff are made of tough fibrous connective tissue similar to connective tissue located elsewhere in the body. The rotator cuff tendons sit on top of the humerus and permit movement in all directions. Combining repetitive use with the aging process and stressful sports is a recipe for significant rotator cuff injury. As people get older, the tendons that comprise the rotator cuff become more prone to injury and degeneration.

Because of the wide range of motion that the shoulder joint has, plus the amount of work that the shoulder has to do doing activities in daily living, the rotator cuff becomes prone to overuse and injury. Trauma, particularly falls are also a common cause of rotator cuff injury. Even a modestly injured rotator cuff can slow or shut down the function of a shoulder.

Some sports, in particular golf, cause high levels of strain on the rotator cuff and commonly result in rotator cuff injury. Rotator cuff injuries impede a golf swing, and if you have ever injured a rotator cuff muscle you know how debilitating an injury it can be. Regular effective rotator cuff exercise will help you to build strength and endurance to the area, and will lessen the risk of getting hurt along the way.

This information invariably indicates to us it is necessary to keep the rotator cuff healthy and strong. To do this there is a great verity of rotator cuff exercises aimed at loosening the area and making it less vulnerable to stress and pain. Varying the type and intensity of your chosen exercise will help reduce some of the common overuse injuries like patellar tendonitis, shin splints and rotator cuff injuries.

These types of fitness stretch exercises are designed to specifically help your back and rotator cuff area. Shoulder rotation exercises rotate the arm internally and externally working the muscles of the rotator cuff. For prevention of rotator cuff tears, it is good practice to find reliable advice from experienced people who can teach you specific and effective rotator cuff exercise.

Jogging For Beginners

I am now aged 53 and have been jogging for over 30 years man and boy, so I hope my experience and knowledge can help you to begin your first steps to jogging and enjoy the fun and freedom it brings. The very first thing you need to do is check that you have no underlying medical condition that may affect your physical wellbeing when it comes to jogging. If you are not sure I strongly suggest you get a once over and clearance from your medical practitioner as a matter of course.

The second thing I strongly recommend is the purchase of a good pair of jogging shoes. There are many brands to choose from (I personally wear Nike air) but make sure no matter what the brand name is you select the right pair of shoes that fit well and are made for jogging. As jogging shoes are designed in such a way as to help reduce the stress factor on your body during the running motion. In terms of outfits don’t forget you are going jogging and not on a fashion show, so you don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds on tops and shorts. Just make sure they are comfortable and suitable for whatever running conditions you find yourself in. I would just like to add if you are going to spend lots of money spend it on your running shoes, though here again depending on your budget there are good value brands out there.

Ok, we have the medical clearance to start and a decent pair of jogging shoes (not gym or basketball shoes). There are two options when beginning your jogging, you can go to a gym and get instructions and start on the treadmills, or we begin outdoors. Let me just cover a couple of points here with regards to gyms and treadmills. There is nothing wrong with gyms (as long as you can afford them), treadmills are fine as I have used them many times over the years in gyms. However from my experience it is far easier to use a treadmill than it is to get out there in the open and run outdoors, this is where I personally would recommend you begin and don’t worry about what the neighbours may think of you or anyone else, just concentrate on what you are looking to achieve. By the way I have seen too many people in gyms on treadmills jogging on a flat straight line, which really isn’t achieving anything unless they incline the equipment to copy the outdoor terrain, don’t worry I don’t expect you to be running up the side of mountains.

We are now ready to face the outdoors and take that first step to jogging freedom. Firstly you will need to do some slight stretching exercises just to warm up your muscles, I recommend you pop into your local library and pick up a book on gentle warm up exercises, you will also need to follow a routine for the end of your training schedule to warm down.This is important as part of your jogging routine to prevent any muscle strains etc, though you will still have the odd ache as this is only natural as you will be calling into action muscles you haven’t used before or used in a long time. We need to set up a course and probably a mile will do, maybe you can have a stroll the day before to plan a route. As this is your very first time you are only going to jog between a point of 30-50 yards distance, this may be between two trees or park benches you can choose your points. select what you feel the most comfortable with and try and keep it on a flat surface, if you are jogging on a pavement and it has a grass verge, run on the grass verge wherever you can. If it hasn’t always try and run on the softer surface in order to protect your knees. You must never ever run with any form of injury, even if you strap up an injury, wait until its better as a few days or a week is better than causing any further injury and putting you off running for life.

So we have gentle run our 30-50 yards, we now walk the next 30-50 yards and rotate this until we cover our training distance of a mile (you can choose a shorter distance to begin with). Let me also say you may find and especially if it is your very first time you still feel slightly breathless over the first few yards, this is generally normal, but don’t panic just reduce your pace to you feel more comfortable. If you are still finding this difficult reduce this again to a fast walking pace throughout the route until your body gets used to it ie 30-50 yards fast walking pace, 30-50 yards gentle stroll, eventually building back up to 30-50 yards jogging and 30-50 yards walking. The objective here is not to get you running the London Marathon but to get you out there gently jogging and enjoying the benefits. Eventually using this system you will be able to gradually run the whole mile and build on that. Just a couple more pieces of advice from my own experiences with jogging is don’t go out everyday, try to start 2-3 three times a week, just because you start to feel better you can easily overdue it and we don’t want that to spoil your fun, build the distance rather than adding days. One last point and I believe from my very own experience is that once you find you can run a whole circuit never ever stop and walk, you may feel tired and if so just reduce your running stride to a snails pace, this is a psychological thing and it trains your mind never to give in, which is all too easy to do, and allows you to keep going, you will feel the benefit and achievement.

Roller Shoes

Roller shoes rely on wheels that are housed within the heel of a normal shoe. By shifting
their weight to the heel of the shoe, heelers are able to smoothly transition from a walk or run
into coasting. This type of skating is referred to as heeling, and at first glance it appears as
if the heeler is simply gliding along without a care in the world and very little physical
effort involved. If you’ve seen this, you might have assumed that these roller shoes are skates
for the lazy, but upon a closer inspection, you will come to realize that there is a lot more to
these skate shoes than just a casual roll down the sidewalk.

When I bought my first pair, I envisioned myself gliding along like I had seen the kids in my
local mall do a million times. The last experience I had with skating at all was nearly twenty
years ago. A boy in that age range during the late 80s, I owned a second rate skateboard and a
longing for half-pipes and “freestyling.” Even then, I never was that good at it, but it
certainly preoccupied a lot of my free time and did provide me with some sort of exercise. As I
slipped on my first pair of roller shoes, I assumed that it was something that would come back
to me, just like riding a bike (or my old skateboard) as the saying goes. This was not true. The
first step I took landed me flat on the pavement and certainly wasn’t the graceful glide I had
intended. With a deep breath and a willingness to learn, I stood up again and gave it another
shot. After making a few steps, I found that controlling my back foot wasn’t so hard, but my
front foot found it amusing to roll me into an awkward splits time and time again. The more I
practiced, the more I began to realize that heeling involved learning how to walk first. With
these roller shoes on, a person has to retrain the body to actually walk on wheels. This is not
any easy task.

After the first few hours on these skate shoes, I made several observations. For starters, I
wasn’t going to be good at this any time soon. Secondly, my heels hurt from the amount of
pressure that was constantly being placed there to roll. I also noticed that my inner thighs
were starting to burn and within a few days, it was apparent that I had worked these muscles
more than I had in quite sometime. The soreness was a result of keeping my balance and forcing
my feet to stay one in front of the other without doing the splits again. As the week passed, I
began to notice that my calf and leg muscles were sore as well. Roller shoes are typically
heavier than normal sneakers, adding in the extra weight of the wheel. It was like wearing ankle
weights and was something my muscles needed to gain strength. As the weeks turned to months and
my heeling improved, my body adjusted as well. Walking around in normal shoes feels strange without the added weight and constant mental and physical focus on my balance.

Walking Exercise Works Wonders

Perhaps you can see why walking rather than driving work might be a safer option, if you have the choice to do so. In addition, to eliminating your chances of being involved in an auto accident, it also enables you to have some time to chill out both before and after work. It gets your blood going and your oxygen flowing, which helps your body rid itself of joint and muscle stiffness that comes from sitting at your desk all day. Finally, it saves you a little bit of cash, money with which you can buy a nice pair of walking shoes. If you have the opportunity to walk to work, do. You don’t have to jump in with both feet. Start out by walking just one or two days. See how you feel. Give your body a chance to adjust to the change. Add a day every two weeks until you are walking to work everyday.

Some of you definitely have jobs that require you to dress up. Walking for two or three miles in high heels, a three-piece suit, or a wool skirt is hardly advisable. If at all possible, save your shower until after you get to work. Many office buildings come equipped with showers. If yours does, use it.

If you must walk in your work clothes, that’s okay too. Although not the fashion statement of the year, I recommend wearing a good pair of walking shoes to and from the office. Carry your work shoes in your bag. You might need to compromise style for comfort a little and choose clothes that are a little more “suitable” for walking. Try buying fabrics that move with you and that allow your skin to breathe. Remember, this is your health we are talking about. Try to be as flexible as possible. Change may feel strange at first, but you will get used to it if you are consistent.