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Choose Running Shoes by Arch Height

Check the height of your arches when you shop for new running or walking shoes. If you have high arches, you usually need shoes with good shock absorption. If you have low arches, you will probably benefit from shoes with good motion control (Gait & Posture, July 2007).

When you run, you land on the outside bottom of your foot and roll inward. This is called pronation, which helps to protect you from injury. If you landed on your foot and did not roll, the force of the impact would be transmitted up your leg to increase your chance of breaking bones and tearing muscles. However, as you roll in from the outside bottom to the inside bottom of your foot, you will see that your lower leg twists inward. Excessive pronation twists your lower leg, which can cause stress fractures of the lower leg bones. It can cause knee pain because it forces your kneecap to rub against the bone of your upper leg. Excessive pronation can even twist your hip joint to cause pain in the hips and lower back.

People with low arches are most likely to roll in too much. Their arches may be normal but appear to be low because the ankles allow the arch to go down so far that it touches the ground. These are the people who need shoes with "motion control" to limit how far their legs twist inward. Motion control features include extra padding in the area where the arch fits in the shoe; a stiffer collar that extends from the laces to the sole to limit rolling in; and a firm stiff piece in the back of the shoe, called a counter, that grips the back of the heel to limit motion.

People with high arches hit the ground with great impact. They need running shoes that limit the force of the foot when it hits the ground. Runners with high arches should seek shoes that have soles and heels with special properties to absorb road shock.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Is high fructose corn syrup more dangerous than ordinary sugar?

The food industry continues to insist that there is no difference between high fructose corn syrup (HCFS) and table sugar, but researchers at Rutgers University have a different opinion. They have found new evidence that soft drinks sweetened with (HFCS) cause tissue damage and may contribute to the development of diabetes, particularly in children. Chi-Tang Ho, Ph.D., and his colleagues conducted tests of eleven carbonated beverages containing HFCS. He found "astonishingly high levels of reactive carbonyls" in those beverages. These highly-reactive compounds associated with "unbound" fructose and glucose molecules are believed to cause tissue damage. Reactive carbonyls are not present in table sugar, whose fructose and glucose components are "bound" and chemically stable. The researchers state that reactive carbonyls are elevated in the blood of individuals with diabetes and are linked to the complications of the disease.

This study was reported August 23, 2007 at the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society. While we await further research, I will continue to recommend avoiding beverages sweetened with HFCS or any other sugars except during vigorous, prolonged exercise. More on HFCS

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Why can some people eat huge amounts of food and never gain weight?

Most people could eat all they want and not gain weight, but they would have to do a lot of exercise to accomplish this. A study from Zurich shows that it takes at least five hours per week of vigorous exercise to avoid gaining weight with aging (Revue Suisse de Médecine Praxis, May 2007). They showed that the average Swiss recreational cyclist, aged 55 to 77, has gained almost two pounds per decade from youth, compared to the non- exercising males in the same age group who gained four pounds per decade. The rate of overweight among these year-round cyclists increased from 7.4 percent in their youthful days to 25 percent by the time they reached their fifties.

If you are in an exercise program and are still gaining weight, you need to exercise more. For many people with jobs, this can be a problem. You may have to go to exercise classes in the evenings after work. Heavy morning exercise can leave you too exhausted to get through the day. You will be more likely to spend many weekend hours exercising if you have an activity that is sociable and fun. Try joining the local bicycle club or road runners club and go out for extended workouts with other members.

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Recipe of the Week

Trail Mix Bars

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June 26th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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