Running and Walking Are High Tech Sports
My career as a recreational runner began around 1971. Looking back now, I was doing everything wrong. Running on the balls of my feet like a sprinter, in a pair of flat deck shoes. I tired quickly. Never even warming up just running hard right from the start. I was in the military and we had to run for fitness, but there was little information back then about how to run properly or the correct equipment to exercise in.
The top rated shoe was the Brooks Vantage and I think number 2 was the Etonic Street Fighter. My budget didn't fit either one, so I went to K-Mart and bought some bright blue track shoes with little rubber spikes on them. They worked better than the deck shoes and I got up to a couple of miles wearing them. When I did have the money for a pair of good running shoes, I thought I was running on pillows. Oh what a difference.
I began to really enjoying running, especially since I learned about warming up. Once my muscles were warm it really started feeling good. That is also when I learned about balancing the muscle groups. My lower back began hurting regularly. I started reading everything I could find about exercise and discovered that back pain can be a result of weak stomach muscles. After doing situps for a few days, my back started to feel better.
In basic training, we exercised in uniform with combat boots. The reasoning behind this was to train in the uniform worn into combat. Trouble is, we didn't learn how to exercise correctly. That was when exercise and physical fitness really started to interest me. My promotion to First Sergeant of the Base Hospital came with responsibility for the fitness of base personnel. I was able to put my knowledge to good use and to gain a whole lot more working with doctors, physical therapists, and nutritionists to design programs for the base. I had Kenneth Cooper's Human Performance Lab in Dallas on speed dial. He was the adviser to the Air Force for physical fitness. His fitness programs were based on the "Aerobics" method of training.
There is new and improved everything on the market now. The challenge is picking the proper equipment. The wrong kind of shoe can cause issues with knees, ankles, achilles tendons and IT bands. Shoes don't just cushion and protect feet any more, now they are designed to correct different gait problems. A wrong shoe can stop an exercise program quickly. It's very important to purchase exercise shoes from a store that has employees trained to fit them properly. It's amazing how high tech, putting one foot in front of the other, has become.
It's not just a step, it's a start.