My Focus on Fitness | Camo Strip (top)
My Focus on Fitness | Camo Strip (bottom)

Injuries and Exercise

Injuries are common over time from to much overuse of the feet and joints.  Any rhythmic exercise that repeats the same movement over an extended time period can set you up for overuse or repetitive motion injury. According to New York Presbyterian Hospital, repetitive motion injury is defined as “temporary or permanent injuries to muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons caused by performing the same motion over and over again.” On the elliptical trainer or treadmill, foot overuse injury is most often related to poor exercise technique and inadequate footwear.

Common Low-Impact Foot Injuries

While lower in impact than running, walking on the treadmill can still stress the joints, muscles and connective tissue. The elliptical eliminates some impact stress, but poor technique can still over-stress the feet. The most common types of treadmill and elliptical foot injuries are metatarsal strain or fracture, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendon strain, shin splints and toe or forefoot pain or numbness. The danger of injury is compounded for neophytes just beginning an exercise program because the muscles that stabilize your joints are not developed.

Proper Technique

Good joint alignment helps distribute body weight correctly to minimize injury. To achieve perfect elliptical alignment, place your toes at the front of the pedal, arms hanging at your sides. Find your balance and do a few revolutions without using arm support. Allow the heel to lift naturally as the foot passes beneath the knee. At the top of the cycle, push down through your heel, not your forefoot. When using arm support, maintain your balance and do not lean forward. On the treadmill, begin at a low speed, standing erect with arms at your sides. Allow your foot to roll in a heel-ball-toe sequence, not walking flat-footed or striking your forefoot first. Use rails and grips for balance, but do not lean forward or support your weight with your arms.


Shoes are your primary protective gear for fitness activities, and worn or cheaply made shoes can cause injury. A good athletic shoe provides stability and shock absorption, holding your foot and ankles in correct alignment while absorbing impact. Even if your gym shoes look presentable, they may have lost their original protective properties. Correct fit is critical. Purchase athletic shoes one-half size larger than street shoes. They should feel supportive but not pinch or rub. Shoes with a removable insole tend to be better made. If the insole is glued in, it is probably a cheaply made shoe.  There are athletic stores located in the East Valley that will actually put you on a treadmill and videotape your footage while having you run, and will recommend a good shoe for you.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at brenda@myfocusonfitness.com or you may contact me at 480-699-3162 or visit my website at www.myfocusonfitness.com

Keeping the Weight Off

By some estimates, more than 80 percent of people who have lost weight regain all of it, or more, after two years. Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles analyzed 31 long-term diet studies and found that about two-thirds of dieters regained more weight within four or five years than they initially lost.

Along with the emotional toll is a physical one: Not only is the extra weight a health risk, but recent studies have linked the gain-lose-gain cycle to such potentially life-threatening conditions as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, depression, heart disease, and cancer.

My personal experience in the training industry and working with clients for weight loss, is teaching people a workout regimen for building and maintaining muscle.  But one of the most important factors when training persons to lose the weight is the nutritional program that you put them on. First, of all no dieting.  You are cutting the calories initially, so that you burn more than you take in on a daily basis, but you cannot starve the body.  The average person should be allowed to eat 5-6 small meals daily, of a healthy protein and a carbohydrate.   You should never starve the body.  When a person is conditioned and has learned to eat healthy it is a lot easier  to maintain their weight because they have formed a habit.  Evidence shows, that this reaction is partially learned, and that through conditioning, you can rewire your brain.

Emotional triggers play a huge role too.  A study at Brown University, US found that dieters who ate in response to emotions like stress, as opposed to external events like overdoing it at the salad bar, were more likely to regain the weight..  Once again they never learned the skills needed for long-term behavior change.  They were not taught to motivate themselves every day to eat healthy and recognize a mistake as a onetime thing.  The bottom line is once you have lost the weight and you realize what it took to lose it, and it was contributed to healthy eating and exercise,  you are more likely to have the willpower you need to keep the weight off.  For more information on the subject you may contact Brenda Bark at Brenda@myfocusonfitness.com or call 480-699-3162 or check out my website at www.myfocusonfitness.com