Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.Full Bio
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So many of us are trying to lose fat. The good news? With the proper diet and exercise it's possible to get rid of unwanted fat. The bad news? We lose some fat without even trying ... whether we like it or not.
Wait-I said bad news. What's so bad about losing fat without even trying?
The cruel irony is this: We lose it in a place that we need it - our feet - and age accelerates its departure.
Just look down at those two things connected to your ankles, the things with ten toes. Your body's precious commodity that carries you the equivalent of three times around the Earth in your lifetime. The body parts that contain a whopping 26 bones, 33 joints and upward of 100 tendons, ligaments and muscles. By the time most of us are 50, those feet have carried us about 75,000 miles!
All that mileage is not without problems, unfortunately.
National Public Radio reported that a study of over 3,000 adults sponsored by the National Institutes of Health found that nearly 28 percent of the American population had chronic foot pain, with women experiencing it twice as much as men. And foot pain is not just in your head: though they do lose fat, feet naturally grow both wider and longer with each passing year, so the shoes that were so comfy last year might become torture devices today.
Feet Don't Fail Me Now!
So, what's a person to do, when foot pain is almost as common as, um, the common cold? How can we stay active and on our feet, despite arthritic joints, bunions, poor circulation, loss of flexibility, loss of fat pads that cushion our soles and the like?
Sitting Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
Lose the extra weight. Since the force on your feet is equivalent to about 120 percent of your body weight, it goes without saying that the heavier you are, the more pressure you're putting on your feet.
Five Little Changes to Lose Weight
Pay extra attention if you have diabetes. Diabetes can result in many complications, among them poor circulation and loss of feeling in your feet. With that, you're likely to experience poor wound healing. Make sure to have your doctor examine your feet each time you visit, or at the very least, on an annual basis, and stay away from ill-fitting shoes that irritate or rub your feet.
All About Diabetes
Steer clear of high heels. Sorry, stiletto-lovers: They may look sexy and add some wished-for height, but at the same time they can contribute to hammertoes, neuromas (pinched nerves at the ball of the foot), bunions and even toenail problems.
"The higher the heel, the more the shoe increases the arch height and changes its position," says Australian podiatrist Phil Vasyli, who has engineered the Orthaheel brand, which includes over-the-counter orthotic foot beds, slippers, sandals and walking shoes in over 25 countries around the globe. Vasyli suggests sticking to a maximum heel height of 1 1/2 inches so that the shoes can contour to your arch and distribute your weight over the entire foot rather than just the ball of the foot. If you absolutely can't resist, try to wear higher heels only for a short time.
Keep your toenails trimmed. Trimming nails straight across will go a long way toward preventing painful ingrown toenails, which can cause irritation, redness and swelling and make walking anything but pleasant.
Avoid cheaply made footwear. Your feet are worth the investment in a good pair of shoes-and they'll thank you in return. Poorly made shoes usually mean reduced support, lack of breathability and poor quality control, says Vasyli.
Walking Is More Than Just for Fitness
Make sure the shoe fits. The American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society reports that 90 percent of women wear shoes that are too tight, resulting in foot problems. Unfortunately, what looks glamorous in magazines can feel ghastly on your feet. When buying shoes, make sure to fit them to the larger foot (we all have one foot slightly larger than the other).
Consider shoe inserts or orthotics if your feet hurt. You can pick up inexpensive nonprescription shoe inserts to wear inside your shoe at any drugstore, or visit your podiatrist for specially made orthotics to support and comfort your feet.