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Facials, Feet and Fitness

Alexandra Williams, MA
picture at the Vionic party at BlogHer

Headed for a handstand. Or the splits.

Part of active aging is taking care of your feet and face, especially if you walk outdoors as often as I do. If your feet are in pain, you won’t want to walk, dance, stand, run, or anything else that is upright. Except maybe walking on your hands. That’s upright. Or upside right. Something like that.

And I’m fairly vain, but more about looking healthy than young, so I want to have skin that is sunburn-resistant and elastic. Dry and wrinkly is a great way to advertise raisins, not faces.

Foot Care

We’ve talked a bit about these topics before. My article “Your Feet, Your Shoes, Your Choices,” is now accessible to consumers (you had to be a member of the professional fitness association to access the piece in IDEA Fitness Journal when it was first published), so give it a read to get advice from the experts on foot care and footwear.

One of numerous posts on the topic of foot and knee pain (They are linked. You know the song) is by my sister. She shares six strategies for avoiding pain while moving.

If you suffer from shin splints (the problem begins in the foot), you’ll want to read this series:

Shin Splints S.O.S.

Preventing Shin Splints

3 Tips for Preventing Shin Splints

Prevent Shin Splints: 3 Calf Stretches

Vionic teal Luxe slippers

This is the pair I brought home for my sister. I’m so nice.

Of course, I am also particular about the shoes I wear, especially for walking and teaching my group exercise classes. Now I can add slippers to the list of protective footwear. At the BlogHer conference a few weeks ago, sis and I were given some Vionic with Orthaheel slippers. Formerly just producers of medical grade footwear, they now offer sandals, shoes and slippers to everyday consumers too. The Orthaheel technology helps reduce over-pronation, (the most common foot issue). That’s a good thing, as correcting over-pronation can improve foot function and relieve plantar fasciitis, as well as knee and back pain. Recommended by both the American Podiatric Medical Association and Dr. Andrew Weil, I am enjoying wearing them around the house. I don’t think I’ll teach in them.

Skin Care

pic of Alexandra and Kymberly from 1970

Red hair, oily skin, freckles, and some damn fine catwoman glasses.

As kids, we had freckles, fair skin, acne, oily faces, and sunburned easily. As adults, we still have to be careful about our skin even though it’s no longer oily, because we exercise a lot, which means sweat. Additionally, we still sunburn easily and have to be cautious to avoid rosacea. Of course, we have wrinkles too, which we earned, though we aren’t racing to get more. No no no.

Water is a fantastic skin care regimen – it helps cleanse, lubricate and hydrate the skin, as well as removing toxins, but as a Boomer I want more. I also want less. More than just water for my skin. Less stuff that is harmful to my body and aligns with my vegetarian, organic, non-GMO values and practices.

As I’ve aged, I’ve also become more receptive to traditional medicine, which I define as anything that has either been around for thousands of years, or is more aligned with intuition and the “unmeasurable.” I win a lot of stuff – most of you know that I seem to win something every week. And I don’t enter a lot of giveaways. I’m just lucky. I believe it’s my positive energy. Our mom is the same – she would will things to occur. Someday I’ll share the story of how she willed herself to have twins even though no-one else believed her until I was actually born (they had to race to get a second bassinet for Kymberly – the doctor was seriously embarrassed).

Getting a facial with SkinAgain products

Such a lovely place. Such a lovely face. Plenty of room at the Hotel … Orlando.

A few days ago Kymberly and I were given facials using the SkinAgain functional skin care line (they were even gracious enough to give facials to my two boys). Not only are the products vegan, they are also fragrance-, paraben-, gluten- and cruelty-free. And the part that I’m very curious about – they are infused with positive energy (chi, prana, life force – whatever term you use) via a hologram that’s affixed to each product. I asked a lot of questions about this, as I found it fascinating. The owner of SkinAgain refers to it as “collective positive energy infusion,” which to me is about the same thing we get in religion. You may even have participated (or benefited from) intercessory prayer.

My skin can always use positive energy and products, especially on the days when my magic wand is broken.

They sent us home with samples, so my face shall be the test. If only they had sent the estheticians home with us too.

This is not a sponsored post. This is just us sharing info about products that have fused the latest technology and oldest traditions to help deal with our modern, Boomer lives.

save 30% on adidas bags

By the way, if you’re shopping for back-to-school bags (including gym bags and backpacks), we are affiliates with adidas, and they are offering 30% Off adidas Bags right now. This includes their iconic airline bag. No code is needed, just click on the links here. If you make a purchase, we make a small commission. Good all around.

Glasses and Sunglasses

Also, since we’re flashing our catwomans in this post, we should also provide you with a link to our affiliate partner Warby Parker, makers of all kinds of glasses, including fun retro stuff. And for every pair sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need. Do good; See well.


Preventing Shin Splints

Dear F&F: I started running in 2010 and quickly discovered that my weak arches are what caused the leg pain I experienced, the knee pain (kneecap slides) and the bursitis that formed just below my knee.  But, I’ve worked on taping the knees and strengthening the muscle there.

While training lately for a half marathon, I often get shin splints along the inside of my calf as well as up the front.  I know I have to rest it, then strengthen that front muscle. What are good exercises to work that muscle?  Amy, @splintergirl

Picture of shin splints

All that red looks like a giant, painful splinter!

Alexandra: Hey Amy, we are almost BFFs now, because you are so good about sending us questions (we just answered one from Amy about half marathons). We moved your question up the queue since we know your race is pretty soon. First of all, you have to be pain free before you can do strengthening exercises. Freeze water in a Dixie cup. Before and after your runs, ice down your shins, peeling away the cup as the ice melts.

Kymberly: Not to shirk my duty here, but my advice is to check with your medical professional. I always advocate solving the root of the problem, which are weak arches, in your case. Why are they weak? What is causing their collapse? All the issues you describe emanate from the arch collapse, so until you address the biomechanical or anatomical issues there, you will always be playing catch up with your injuries. I feel like the grinch of running, but there it is. Think of it this way — you have an issue at the bottom of your body — the arches. You feel a problem higher up the body — the shins, and not surprisingly the pain travels higher, reaching your knees. Next up the chain– back pain. Do you see where I am going with this? Up and up unless you go back down, all the way down to the arches. Solve that issue and the others get solved as well.

Nevertheless, we can and do offer you some ideas for strengthening your shin area as you work to resolve the original problem of collapsed arches. Does that get me out of grinch status to ultimate “gifter?”

A: Another thing – get an insole insert to go under your arch. Shin splints occur with over pronation or overuse, and inflammation occurs due to the injury at the posterior peroneal tendon and anterior portion of the lower leg. So you need to keep the arch up to prevent overuse of those muscles that lift your foot. And break in the inserts in before your race.

K: Surprise, surprise, but Alexandra and I don’t always agree. For instance, I am not a big fan of inserts. At most, use them temporarily or the muscles that are designed to lift your arch will atrophy even more. Will inserts help get you through this race more safely and with less pain? Probably. The long term solution is to strengthen the tibialis posterior, tibialis anterior, and the foot musculature.

Try barefoot sand walking (I was about to say “beach walking” but not everyone is as lucky as a ducky to live near a beach). Also do heel raises, standing barefoot and lifting in an almost pigeon-toed direction with the toes straight ahead and the ankles thrusting outwards as you rise up. (You can see the move in this short video from “not us”). This exercise will specifically help the posterior tibialis and cut down on the pain you are describing.

Lastly, maybe change your twitter handle from “splintergirl” to something that avoids the word “splints” and does not sound so painful. Yowzah!

Picture credit: Mayo Clinic

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA