Social Fitness

Photo Credit: www.localfitness.com.au
Do you exercise alone at home or at the gym? Sometimes belonging to a group of like-minded people can be a great motivator. Friendly competitions or simply sharing time with others can make exercise more enjoyable, strengthen friendships and increase your social circle. How can you engage your current friends and find new friends through exercise? Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Communities across the USA are starting walking groups. Join a local walking group to make new friends. Start your own walking group if you can’t find one in your area. Recruit current friends, family and co-workers. Encourage them to bring someone with them, too. Schedule walks when the most people can join in the fun and exercise. Choose start locations that are convenient to the majority of the group and have fun!
Take a dance class for the aerobic exercise and to make new friends. Dancing, like ballroom dancing or Salsa dancing, is a low-impact form of exercise that is effective and fun! You can probably find a dance class close to your home. You don’t have to have a dance partner to join a class. There are almost always partners ready to dance with you. Line dancing is a popular dance style and doesn’t require a partner. You’re sure to make new friends and get a good workout at a dance class. 
Most gyms offer group exercise opportunities, such as yoga, martial arts, Pilates and dance aerobics classes.  Join an exercise group at your local fitness center or gym to make friends and get fit at the same time. Those who need a more personal touch when it comes to exercise may consider a small-group exercise class offered by certified personal trainers. Personal trainers sometimes offer group training with 10 or fewer participants in the group. 

Are Toning Shoes For You?

Toning shoes are popular among many walkers, joggers and runners. Some makers claim that toning shoes can firm and tone your legs while helping you to burn more calories to lose weight. Makers of toning shoes claim their shoes are designed to simulate walking barefoot or walking on uneven terrain to make your leg muscles work harder with ever step. Do toning shoes really firm, tone and strengthen your legs while helping you to burn more calories? 
According to the Mayo Clinic’s Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., there is no evidence to support the claim that toning shoes give you a better leg workout or help you to burn more calories. Dr. Laskowski stated that there is no harm in wearing the shoes and wearers may benefit from wearing the shoes if owning and wearing a pair causes them to increase their physical activity. 
Photo Credit: Steve Ling CC-BY-2.0
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) conducted a study to test the effectiveness of toning shoes. ACE tested the comparative effectiveness of toning shoes against regular walking shoes and found no evidence to support the claims that toning shoes burn more calories, tone or strengthen muscles. Researchers stated that if owning a pair of toning shoes provided the wearer with the motivation to get more exercise generally, then the shoes provided some benefit. The ACE study did not address the potential effects on the wearer’s balance due to the unstable design of the shoe sole.
The bottom line on toning shoes seems to be they provide no additional benefit to the wearer when it comes to burning extra calories or strengthening and toning leg muscles. If you like them and owning a pair motivates you to get more exercise, that is definitely a plus for these shoes.