Love, Wellness

I always thought that I struggled with exercise because I was unhealthy, but it turns out that I was just wearing the wrong shoes

I was so determined to get healthy that I would just work through the pain to the point where my jog left me in tears.

I’ve struggled with body image my whole life; I hated the way I looked and the fact that I wasn’t physically fit.

Recently, I decided enough was enough and that I wanted to get healthy because sitting around was just making me feel worse. I’ve been making lots of changes to my life to improve on health and basic self-care, so it was a good time to try and tackle this issue as well.

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As an absolute beginner to exercise, I found it slightly daunting. I joined the gym and stuck to the safe machines, like the treadmill, the cross-trainer, and the rowing machine out of fear that I might embarrass myself on the ones that I wasn’t so familiar with. I also decided to start jogging at an unnaturally early hour so that no-one could witness the disaster that was me trying to run. Jogging is something that I’d always wanted to do but never thought I could. I looked at joggers in awe and envy, wishing that I had that kind of motivation.

When I started jogging on a regular basis, my ankles and legs were in unbearable pain. After some time my ankles actually started to swell up, which made the whole experience even more unappealing.

I booked in to see the doctors but the earliest appointment was over a month away. So, I did what every millennial does and turned to Google for answers. The internet told me that this kind of pain was common with newcomers to exercise and it would wear off eventually. I figured it was my own fault for living a lifetime without exercise and that I’d just have to work through it. So, I carried on with my quest for a healthier life.

Some days the pain would get so bad that I would be forced to stop my jog and sit down because I could no longer stand. Other days I was so determined to get healthy that I would just work through the pain, to the point where my jog left me in tears.

I desperately wanted to be healthy and I guess it was the stubbornness that kept me going. My legs were in constant pain, but I refused to quit or wait until my doctor’s appointment because I was scared that if I stopped I wouldn’t be able to find the will-power to get myself exercising again.

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I was discussing this with a friend once, complaining that my body was taking forever to get used to exercising and that it was taking its toll on me. Funny enough, my friend used to work at a trainer store and suggested that the problem may have been with my shoes rather than my previous lack of exercise. I had been running in old worn out trainers that I’d bought a few years ago, so I figured she might’ve had a point.

I visited a local sports store. They had a fancy machine which analyzed my feet. It turned out that I had “pes cavus.” Don’t know what this is? I didn’t either. It basically means that I have a high arch; the arch that goes from my toes to the heel of my feet is raised more than normal. With this condition, more strain is placed on the feet and ankles when walking and running and it gets pretty painful. I had no idea that such conditions existed. To be honest, I never really thought about feet in depth.

The kind advisor at the shoe store explained a lot more about the condition to me, but it pretty much went over my head. He helped me picked out trainers that pushed back against the arch and would support me better. I also got some insoles to put in my other shoes so that walking would no longer cause me any pain.

All this time I had thought that the pain was normal. I mean, I always thought that I struggled walking long distances because I was just so unhealthy, but it turns out I was just wearing the wrong shoes. I was super excited to try out my new trainers. If I was getting through morning jogs with this pain, imagine how much better I could do when the pain was gone.

Exercise has definitely gotten a ton easier and I’m finding that I actually enjoy it. These new trainers have literally changed my life. I’m able to constantly push myself and the pain I feel is “good pain” of aching muscles and a healthier body.

Additionally, I’ve added insoles to the rest of my shoes and find that I no longer dread having to walk long distances. It is liberating to know that it wasn’t my lack of fitness that caused the pain, that my body is able to do so much more than I once thought. I never imagined that I could be someone who jogged or walked places for fun. I’m finally able to work towards the person I thought for so long I never could be; a healthier me. What once seemed like impossible, is becoming more and more possible.

I feel like an entirely new person and I have a pair of shoes to thank for it.