Find the Right Shoe for You

Whether you are a runner, a walker,
a fitness class enthusiast or a
workout novice, one of the most...

read more

Five Steps to Better
Heart Health

Most of us want to improve our heart
health - but understanding what we...

read more

Make Your Yard

Usually around this time of year
we start planning our garden for...

read more

Find the Right Shoe for You

Whether you are a runner, a walker, a fitness class enthusiast or a workout novice, one of the most important decisions you can make when it comes to exercise is what you put on your feet. The right shoes can prevent injuries, help you add mileage to your runs and generally make your workout more pleasant... The wrong shoes, on the other hand, can not only cause discomfort but can also lead to injuries, leaving you on the sidelines.

Here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you are in the market for new sneakers.

  1. Know Your Foot:

    The biggest hurdle to finding shoes that fit is your foot itself. The shape of your foot arch and the width of your foot are the best indicators of what type of shoe will be most comfortable for you. If you have a normal arch and normal width, finding a comfortable shoe won't be too hard. On the other hand, if you have a high arch, you need a shoe that is flexible and has good cushioning. If you have a low arch, or a "flat" foot, you need a shoe that will provide extra support in the arch area. If your foot is wider than normal, it is important to find a shoe that is sized to your width. A well-trained shoe store sales person will be able to help you determine your arch needs as well as the width of your foot and find specific brands and models that will work for you.

  2. Find the Right Shoe for Your Activity:

    If you're like many women, you throw on your running shoes before every workout, regardless of whether that workout actually includes running or not. While those running shoes may be comfortable, they really should not be worn for any activities other than running. While it isn't realistic for most of us to have a dozen pairs of sneakers in our closet, each one tailored to our various activities, you should buy the shoe (or shoes) that are made for the activity(s) you do most often. Whether you enjoy cardio dance classes, kick boxing, power walking or weight lifting - there are shoes customized for those activities. Wearing the right shoe for the right activity can help prevent injuries and will ensure that your shoes last longer.

  3. Longer Workout = Bigger Shoes:

    If your primary activity involves lots of mileage (training for distance races) or workouts that are longer than 45-60 minutes, consider buying shoes a half size bigger than you normally would. During long workouts, your foot will swell and your sock will soak up perspiration, making your shoes more snug than usual. A half size or full size larger shoe will accommodate for that.

  4. Your Foot is Still Growing:

    It is a simple fact of aging that as we get older, our feet get bigger. Do not fight this fact! Get your foot measured by a professional every year or two and if your foot has grown a half size or more, buy the bigger shoe. Your feet will thank you!

  5. Know When to Retire Your Shoes:

    While most people look at the tread of their sneakers to determine when it is time to replace them, it is actually the inside of your shoe you should be studying. The midsole - which provides cushion and arch support - will give way eventually, which can lead to muscle fatigue, shin splints or joint pain. A good rule of thumb for runners is to retire shoes after 300-400 miles. If you are doing other activities, just keep an eye on how your feet and legs feel after a workout. If they don't feel right, consider shopping for new shoes.

This month all Care Begins With Me members are automatically entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card to Sports Authority, courtesy of Sports Authority in the Palladio at Broadstone in Folsom.

Be sure to visit our Member Benefits page to read about the latest discounts and offers available to Care Begins With Me members from local businesses.

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Make Your Yard Drought-Friendly

Usually around this time of year we start planning our garden for the spring and summer ahead. This year, thanks to a record-breaking dry and warm winter and the resulting drought crisis, those plans may need to be altered. When planning this year's planting, keep in mind not only our very warm, dry weather but also the very real need to conserve water.

Here are some tips to help you plan a drought-friendly garden.

  1. Choose Plants Carefully:

    Living in Northern California, we are already a bit limited in what will survive our very hot, dry summers. But, by installing plenty of irrigation, our selection of plants, flowers and produce can grow exponentially. This year that bountiful irrigation should be curtailed, if not completely discontinued. So when shopping for plants, look for those that have proven drought intolerance. And don't think this means no flowering plants - some roses like the Flower Carpet rose series use very little water and have been shown to do well in drought conditions. Ask your local nursery to help you identify the best options.

  2. Make Use of Mulch:

    One of the best ways to ensure that you are making the most of your irrigation is to mulch your garden beds and around trees. Mulching ensures that any moisture applied to your landscaping is not lost through evaporation. Mulch also reduces the growth of weeds, which can absorb the moisture intended for your landscaping.

  3. Pay Attention to Your Irrigation:

    During a drought it is more critical than ever to ensure that your irrigation system is working as efficiently as possible. This means using the most effective system (drip, soaker, spray) for each area of your landscaping. In addition, it is vital that you regularly inspect your system to ensure that it is working and not leaking anywhere. One leak on a drip system can really affect your water usage and can negate your water conservation efforts.

  4. The Right Plant, The Right Place:

    Before you purchase any new plants or vegetation, read up on their water, sun, soil and maintenance needs. Then, group together plants with similar needs and match those needs to the right spot in your yard. Make use of your shade. Know that your lawn will get the bulk of your water and plant accordingly.

  5. Consider Changing Your Lawn:

    One of the first areas you will see the effects of drought and water shortage is in your lawn. Your lush, green grass is probably the biggest water consumer in all of your landscaping and when water is in short supply, your grass will immediately begin to look sparse, brown and dead. If you've ever considered replacing your grass with a rock garden, groundcover or other drought immune landscape feature, now is the time to do it! At the very least, do not add additional grass or replace dead grass this year. The watering needs of new lawn are not conducive to drought watering guidelines.

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Five Steps to Better Heart Health

Most of us want to improve our heart health - but understanding what we can do in our day-to-day lives to accomplish that goal can be tricky. Below are five steps you can take TODAY that will put you on the path to better cardiovascular health. Remember, heart disease is the number one killer of women in our country. Simple steps like these can make a huge impact on your health and add years to your life.

  1. Eat More Plants and Fish:

    Look for opportunities to introduce colorful fruits and vegetables into your diet. Typically, color-rich foods are also rich in heart-healthy antioxidants, which decrease your risk for heart disease by reducing plaque in your arteries. Look for foods like blueberries, tomatoes, spinach and pomegranates. Potassium-rich foods like oranges, bananas and mushrooms are also great because they help regulate blood pressure, reducing your risk for heart attack and stroke. Strive for five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Another good goal is to add more fish to your diet, like salmon, sardines or rainbow trout. That will increase your omega-3 fatty acid intake, which reduces your blood pressure and your triglycerides.

  2. Know Your Numbers:

    It is important to understand your personal risk factors for heart disease. The best way to do this is to undergo a regular physical that includes a check for cholesterol, a blood pressure screening, blood sugar analysis and diabetes evaluation. Discuss your screening results as well as your family history with your physician. If you would like more information about your risk, consider having a heart health screening done, like the one offered by Dignity Health Heart and Vascular Institute of Greater Sacramento. Find more information here.

  3. Cut Fat:

    Decreasing your saturated fat intake is the best diet change you can make in your battle against heart disease. Trans fats are the worst offenders and really have no place in a healthy diet - they increase your bad cholesterol level and reduce your good cholesterol. Prime sources of trans fats include margarine, oil, fried foods and pre-packaged pastries and baked goods. Even healthy fats - like olive oil and nuts - should account for no more than 7% of your daily calories intake.

  4. Stop Smoking:

    Smoking is dangerous to your health in many ways - it is known to cause cancer, it increases your risk for stroke, it increases your risk for heart disease... However, if you have smoked for years it can feel impossible to quit. Please know that it is never too late to quit - every day that you do NOT smoke is a step toward better health and a longer life. If you need help quitting, Dignity Health Heart and Vascular Institute can help. Find more information here.

  5. Get Moving:

    Your heart - like every muscle in your body - needs to be exerted in order to stay healthy. The only way to do this is to exercise it by moving your body. Even if you are not up for an intense workout, simply taking a 30 minute walk every day can keep your heart strong. Take the stairs whenever possible, walk instead of drive when you can and look for opportunities to do physical activity in your everyday activities. Your heart will thank you!

To learn more about living a heart healthy life, join Dignity Health Heart and Vascular Institute for a morning of fun, friends and relaxation at "Laugh, Learn, Lounge" on March 15. This free event will include a performance by comedian Jack Gallagher, free breakfast, raffle prizes and a great swag bag. Seating is limited - register today!

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