Setting a regular night for a family dinner is a great way to stay connected. However, if you and your children are spending too much time on screens, scheduling a weekly family physical activity is an equally effective way to bond and also get in some much needed exercise.
“It doesn’t matter what activity you choose as long as all family members are able to participate,” says Kevin Fraser, president of the Pedorthic Association of Canada and a certified pedorthist. “You can either let a different family member choose a new activity each week, or you can do the same activity all season. Whichever you choose, it is important to make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear.”
Activity specific footwear increases comfort, maximizes enjoyment and helps to prevent injuries. Although old running shoes may seem like a good choice for a family hike as it won’t matter if they get dirty or wet, hiking shoes are an important investment if you’ll be regularly hitting the trails. Hiking shoes provide extra ankle support for uneven terrain as well as extra cushioning and shock absorption. They also dry quickly.
Old running shoes are not a good choice for any activity. Running shoes break down over time and when they are old they do not provide adequate shock absorption or stability, which can result in painful lower leg and foot injuries. Although running shoes aren’t stamped with a best before date, they do expire. If you’ve had your running shoes for more than one year they should be replaced.
Equally important to wearing activity-specific footwear is to make sure all family members are wearing the correct size. Although it is tempting to pass sports shoes down from one child to the next, it is not advisable, as the shoes won’t fit properly. Also everyone has different biomechanics so the wear patterns from one child won’t match the wear patterns of the next. As children’s feet grow rapidly you should have them professionally measured every few months to see if they require new shoes.
More information on shoe fitting and activity specific footwear can be found at www.pedorthic.ca.