Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Flip-flop... you don't stop!

Hello all,

Im back from my travels and ready to start back writing. I had some exciting news (well, for me) that i was given the chance to write for Ultra-Fit.co.uk and they published an article. Pretty cool stuff and they also want me to do more with the long term goal of contributing to the magazine, nice. Also i have been in contact with Mens Fitness UAE about the same thing... so im happy that im finally getting noticed and introduced to a larger audience, just need to keep up the good work.

Onto todays blog.... Flip-flop... you dont stop!

Everyone's Favourite... The Thong sandal

Over the last month i have been noticing a worrying trend amongst people. It seems a large number of the population wear flip-flops for everyday use and i believe this is bad news. I have had a suspicion for a number of years that flip-flops or thong sandals (as they are known to annoying w*nkers) are not great for the ankle and knee joints. I remember my knees aching really badly after walking about 5 miles in Budapest a in a pair of FFs and my ankles were swollen up badly.

Why are they so bad?

Well, after much analysing of holiday-makers in Barcelona, Cannes, Nice and Genoa (Yes, I am boasting about my summer vacation) i noticed that those wearing flip-flops had a weak heel strike... some even looked like they were walking on tip toes! Their steps seemed shorter too? As if trying to continually control themselves from falling over. I thought about this and came up with a theory.

When you raise your foot wearing flip-flops, the sole actually moves away from foot, creating (if you like) a "false" heel strike.

Almost like wearing high heels?

This will then encourage the wearer to land his/her foot more to the front or flat. Kind of the same reason in-the-know fitness professionals will give you for using treadmills excessively or on a flat setting.

This often results in a flat foot strike

What does this mean?

As you may or may not know, in all leg exercises it is important to push through the heels to activate the major muscles groups of the posterior chain (Glutes And Hamstrings). This is no different. Walking in flip-flops will recruit quads and possibly calves. If we estimate that 90% of all knee pain is linked to tight quads, it wouldn't take a genius to work out that flip-flops may not be the best choice to enjoy a leisurely stroll...

Hang on! Everyone who goes on holiday makes sure they:

1. Packed their flip-flops (or will immediately buy some when they get there)
2. Plan to walk around and not just drink by the pool eating a 'Glasgow salad'.. or as we call them, chips
3. Buy sunscreen 6-8 factors too low for their skin, hoping it wont burn them (like last year)

Walking and flip-flops seem to go hand in hand, i'm suggesting that you should buy suitable shoes for holiday walking and leave the flip-flops for poolside and beach days.

Sock style trainers are ideal for long holiday walks

The beauty of the Internet

The internet never ceases to amaze me... what would we do without it? just as i finish up this blog thinking i have a pretty good blog which should interest some people into ditching their flip-flops, i decided to type into google "flip flop wear good or bad". There were various articles confirming my beliefs (cue victory dance) and right underneath there was an article from the LA Times Health section claiming Flip-flops may eliviate knee-pain!!??

There is an important lesson to be had here. I believe i am right, 100%. It just makes total sense to me. However, someone somewhere has found in a study that flip-flops actually help knee pain (maybe the author was Mr. Flip-flop?). Things to consider when reading online:

1) Who is the author and what is their reason for writing their article? Sales, Hatred, etc.
2) Anybody can publish an article on the net, even crazy people.
3) Most things you read on the net are linked to a product/service - thus influencing the message.

Next blog will be all about my new product... Flip-flops that you make you run faster and jump higher!

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  1. What do think about Vibram fingers and other similar non-shoes Nathan? Does less equal more when it comes to foot support? Be interested to read your thoughts!

  2. Nice to have you back writing again. Always enjoy reading your blogs....now to have a flip flop burning party! Keep up the good work!

  3. @ Pat - Everything i have seen, read and can work out about the Vibram product is that they are probably the ultimate training shoe. It just makes sense to me that training as close to barefoot as possible is the best option.

    Apart from ankle propreception, there is the increased muscle activation in squats, lunges and deadlifts.

    (namedropping again!) At Cressey performance, running shoes are banned and all athletes are made to warm up barefoot... enough said there i think. i should have bought a pair when i was there!


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