5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Running Shoe

Your running shoes serve as your contact point with the ground and provide cushioning against the jars and impacts common during this healthy activity. Finding shoes that support your foot shape and reduce stress on your feet can help you get the most from your exercise regimen. Here are five proven strategies for finding the right shoes for running and jogging.

Leave a Little Wiggle Room

Most fitness experts recommend that you leave about a half-inch of room at the end of your running shoes to ensure proper fit throughout your exercise routine. Feet tend to swell slightly during running or jogging, so leaving a small amount of room for expansion can enhance your comfort and help you get the most from your workout.

Check Your Shoe Size

Taking the time to check the fit of running shoes is critical even if you are certain of your shoe size. Different manufacturers may use slightly different sizing techniques. Trying these shoes on for size and walking around a bit can ensure that you get the most comfortable fit from your running shoes. If you find a running shoe that works well for you, it may be worthwhile to purchase an extra pair or two as replacements when your current shoes wear out. This can save time and prevent you from missing running sessions due to broken-down shoes.

Seek Expert Help

If you have chronic or acute conditions that affect your feet or ankles, consulting with a professional podiatrist can provide added avenues of treatment. Some of the most common issues that require podiatric treatment include the following:

  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Flat feet
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Hammer toe

An orthopedic podiatrist can provide the support needed to allow you to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle that includes running. They can also prescribe inserts and recommend shoes that can compensate for these conditions and provide solid support for your feet and ankles.

Shop Around

Retailers that specialize in sports equipment and athletic shoes can often provide expert assistance in finding the right shoe in the right size for your feet. Especially in small, locally-owned stores, building a relationship with the staff can help you find the best running shoes for your unique pair of feet. This can also provide you with information on new trends in the shoe industry and access to special-order shoes to suit your particular needs.

Accommodate Your Arch

If you have especially low or high arches, consider purchasing running shoes specifically designed to accommodate your feet and to provide support and comfort. Depending on the condition of your feet, special inserts may be required to ensure optimal protection against impacts and breakdown of your arch. Adding these orthopedic supports can provide you with greater comfort during your run.

In most cases, the best running shoes for you are the ones that provide you with the greatest comfort both during and after your run. Testing shoes from different manufacturers can often provide you with the best information on which to base your final decision.

6 Strategies for Safer Running

Running is an active aerobic exercise that can boost metabolic rates, burn calories and increase muscle tone. Integrating regular running sessions into your existing fitness plan can help you enjoy better health and increased energy. These six strategies will help you stay safer while incorporating running into your exercise regimen.

Be Visible

If you run in areas also traveled by motor vehicles, wearing clothing that increases your visibility can reduce the risk of accidents. This is especially critical during the morning and evening hours and in rush hour traffic. Light and bright colors are preferred to ensure that you can be seen clearly by drivers along your running route. Reflective tape can also be used to provide added visibility at night.

Dress for Success

A good pair of running shoes can make a big difference in the quality of your workout and the results you achieve from your exercise efforts. Choosing well-fitting and durable shoes with plenty of support for your feet is critical to the success of your running program. A relatively small investment in quality shoes can pay off in improved comfort and reduced risk of injury.

Start Slow

Gradually working your way up to longer distances can provide your body with time to build muscle, stretch ligaments and increase the efficiency of your cardiovascular system. As with any exercise program, consult your physician beforehand to determine the most appropriate level of activity for your current state of health.

Alternate Walking and Running

Especially during the first stages of your new running program, alternating between brisk walking and running can help your body adjust to the increased level of activity. This can also help to develop the muscles in your upper and lower legs to provide better support and can provide improved aerobic benefits by allowing you to maintain your target heart rate for a longer period of time. This can help you avoid becoming overtired and stressed and can reduce the chance of injury.

Proper Breathing Techniques

Most fitness experts recommend breathing through both nose and mouth during aerobic exercise to ensure optimal health benefits. Breathing deeply and evenly can ensure that adequate oxygen reaches all parts of your body and provides reliable energy throughout your run. Staying properly oxygenated can reduce physical risks associated with long-distance running.

Buddy Up

Finding a friend to run with can often provide added motivation and can make running less of a chore. Choosing different routes and taking breaks to chat and catch your breath can make the experience more fun for both of you while providing moral support for your fitness goals. Additionally, the safety in additional numbers can ensure a safer run for you and your companion.

Running can help you burn calories, increase endurance, build muscle and increase your metabolism for improved fitness and health. By sticking to your running regimen and increasing your distance gradually over time, you can enjoy these benefits safely and with the maximum positive effects for your physical condition.

Polish American Museum: Surprise Find on Long Island’s North Shore

A former public library on the north shore of Long Island in Port Washington, New York, might not be the first place where people would go if they were looking for a museum devoted to the history, culture, scientific achievements and heritage of the people of Poland. Those who do make the trip to the Polish American Museum at 16 Belleview Avenue in Port Washington will be pleasantly surprised and delighted to discover a building dedicated to spotlighting the contributions made by individuals of Polish descent.

Showcasing Polish Military Memorabilia

Founded in 1975, the museum displays historical artifacts, costumes, paintings, archival photographs, folk art and more to entertain and educate visitors. Under the current leadership of its Director Gerald Kochan and President Barbara Szydlowski it has not only carried on the founders intent but continues to expand both exhibits and the quality of the collection. One section of the museum building is devoted to a bilingual research library and archives available to students, teachers, researchers and others interested in studying about the heritage of Polish Americans.

The museum houses war memorabilia showcasing contributions of soldiers of Polish heritage in military campaigns dating back as far as the American Revolutionary War. Included in the exhibits are uniforms, medals, books, photographs and paintings. The many galleries highlight the contributions of Nobel Prize winners, composers and musicians, scientists, writers, and also feature Polish folk culture, religions and historical and political highlights.

Photographs, newspaper articles from the period, personal notes and letters, and other artifacts document Polish American contributions and participation during all epochs of U.S. history. Displayed materials include documents, paintings and records contributed by the Polish National Alliance, the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America and the Polish Falcons of America.

A bonus for visitors to the Polish American Museum interested in learning about Polish military achievements throughout history is the Center for Military Studies founded by the Museum’s current director, Gerald Kochan. Housed in a wing of the museum, the center focuses on exhibits and archives from the Polish-Soviet War in 1918, World War II and the Korean War. Included are the military contributions of modern Polish forces in the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan.

From Chopin to Marie Curie: Honoring Polish Contributions

Exhibits at the museum are not limited to military contributions. Featured prominently are the works of Polish writers, painters and sculptors. Displays document the scientific contributions made by Marie Curie, the political achievements of Nobel laureate Lech Walesa and the musical genius of Frederic Chopin.

The Chopin exhibit includes plaster castings of his death mask and his left hand acquired in Warsaw by a member of the museum who donated them. Paintings, photographs, sheet music and books depicting the life of the composer are displayed in a room devoted to his life’s works.

Displayed in the museum’s Holocaust exhibit is a jacket worn by a Polish prisoner who was held in concentration camps during World War II. The original wearer of the blue- and white-striped jacket survived internment in seven camps from 1944 to 1945.

Special events held throughout the year in the reading room offer museum visitors the opportunity to view original photos and lithographs on loan to the museum. The Polish Supplementary School of the museum offers adults and children language classes in Polish and English. It also holds classes in traditional Polish art and dance. Public school teachers are encouraged to contact the museum to have their classes participate in programs designed to introduce children to the contributions of the heritage and culture of Poland to their lives.

Museums: Preserving the World’s Military History

When it comes to recognizing and commemorating military history, museums take the forefront of the task. Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines a museum as “an institution, building, or room for preserving and exhibiting artistic, historical, or scientific objects.” In many instances, objects pertaining to military history fit all of those categories. For example, the Nazis stole and hoarded thousands of works of art during World War II; additionally, the German war machine devised several scientific breakthroughs that are still in use on today’s battlefields. The Allies not only liberated large numbers of oppressed people during and after the second world war, but they also discovered and freed many of the stolen works of art pillaged by the Nazis. Of course, the most notable event of the last 1,000 years occurred through the application of science to the military: It was the dropping of the atomic bomb.

Dedicated to Preserving History

Many museums have devoted their entire existence to small niches of this vast canvas of history and information; some preserve it with broader brush strokes. In all cases, their dedication to the museum craft keeps alive much that would otherwise be largely unknown or ignored. Take, for example, Boston’s Museum of Bad Art. Much of its collection would be consigned to the trash heap were it not for this bastion of the weird, disproportioned and downright crude. The museum takes great pains to say its collection is serious and “… not just the work of the incompetent.” In its own way, it celebrates art in the same way as Edward D. Wood, Jr., celebrated film: exuberantly and vibrantly. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, anyway, and the museum is a tourist attraction, particularly to travelers from the United Kingdom.

Many museums receive their funding from private donations and charities rather than from the government. Even the largest museums sometimes have to work a shoestring budget during these times of economic turmoil. It is through the total commitment of a museum’s staff that such institutions persevere through the toughest times and avoid complete ruin and the closing of doors.

Case Study: Executive Director of the Polish American Museum

Gerald M. Kochan guides the Polish American Museum in Port Washington, New York, and always aims to fulfill his museum’s potential. Kochan has been tireless in his quest to recognize both the contributions of the Polish American Community and of the influence of Eastern European history upon our own history as Americans. One particular focus was brought about by his own experiences as an Army officer. Working with the Poles, Czechs and later Ukrainians he realized that their military contributions were sadly neglected in the West. So establishing the Center for Military Studies, an adjunct yet vital part of the Museum story, he tells the military story of the Poles and others at the Center’s Museum Annex.

In addition to his work with the museum and its supporting charities, Kochan began to work with other charities on other worthy causes, military or otherwise. For example, he is now integrally involved with the group Disabled American Veterans and Wounded Warrior Project. These organizations strive to “empower veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity” through political action on Capitol Hill, educating veterans on the suite of benefits to which they are entitled, and ensuring everyone knows of the sacrifices these men and women routinely made in the past and continue to make today on behalf of the public in addition to special programs for the families and veterans themselves.

In addition to his work with Disabled American Veterans, Kochan brings food to needy people, helps the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need and supports the Catholic St. Joseph’s Indian School for Lakota children in South Dakota.

Having grown up in Lorain, Ohio, as the son of a mother who was supremely dedicated to education and its associated charities and the son of a Polish World War 2 veteran,whose success in this country demonstrated the value of education and effort, Kochan developed a strong sense of righting wrongs and championing the causes of under-appreciated and/or unknown groups and history. It inspired him to take a commission as an Army officer, a career which amplified his understanding of the needs of the “underdog”. This determination to support the “underdog” was facilitated through his role at the Polish museum and accompanying Center for Military Studies, where he has recognized exiled Polish aviators, Polish paratroopers, and unknown female Polish troops that shared the defense of the homeland equally with their male counterparts. His outreach to area schools, and young people in general, assures that knowledge of this legacy will continue to grow for some time to come.