Walking and Running Gear

To maintain or improve your fitness and avoid injuries while walking and running you need to use the right exercise gear. Below are some tips and information to help you purchase training gear.

♦ Shoes provide shock absorption, cushioning, motion control and durability. The proper shoes will help correct biomechanical problems, such as foot pronation (inward roll of your ankle) and arch height. Specialty stores, magazines, and web sites have a lot of information about the latest footwear and what footwear is best for your foot type. Do not buy shoes based on their brand name!

♦ Orthotics are shoe inserts that provide additional foot support and control for people with biomechanical conditions that

may cause pain while running. They can be purchased as over-the-counter inserts or custom-made. Consult a sports medicine specialist or podiatrist.

♦ Heart Rate Monitors gauge exercise intensity by continuously monitoring heart rate. These consist of a wrist watch and a chest strap: the chest strap detects your heart beat and transmits it to the watch which displays heart rate in beats per minute. This allows you to check and maintain your heart rate within your target training zone (see Chapter 5) while you exercise.

♦ Reflectors and portable beverage containers are great for your safety and health when exercising outdoors. Other gear, such as walkmans, can provide entertainment, however, consider your training environment to determine whether they will hinder your safety by decreasing your awareness of your surroundings.

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