Back pain interferes with most of your daily activities. It is uncomfortable, distracting and limiting. The Skecher shoe company says it may have a solution for your back pain: the Shape-Up. The Shape-Up rocker shoe has a rounded sole and an increased amount of cushioning which changes your gait and softens your landing.
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The Skecher Shape-Up shoe is surrounded in controversy. Many wearers have filed law suits against the company, so Skechers has had to change how it promotes the shoes. The benefits listed for the Shape-Up suggest that wearing the shoe reduces moderate back pain and improves posture and results are said to be different for each person. The posture improvements are most likely a result of the body trying to remain stable on the unstable shoe surface. When you walk with your back straight, your balance improves which prevents you from wobbling in the shoe. The straight spine often can be enough to decrease your back pain, it is claimed.
When you wear the Shape-Up shoes during exercise, you contract many different muscle groups. The American Council on Exercise, ACE, studied the contraction in the erector spinae, which is the muscle that runs along both sides of the spine. As a baseline, subjects voluntarily contracted the muscle before wearing the shoes. Researchers compared the muscle contraction during walking with the shoes to the baseline and showed a contractile value of 50 percent. The results show that your back contracts when you wear the shoes, which strengthens the muscles. These stronger muscles can lead to more back support and a reduction in back pain.
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One of the differences between the Skecher's Shape-Ups and other shoes is the amount of extra cushioning. The extra cushioning increases the instability of the shoe. You may find your foot shifting left to right when you take a step, which aims to improve your balance. Another benefit of the extra cushioning is that it may reduce the impact on your ankles, knees, hips and ultimately the back. Often, back pain is increased with impact activities, such as walking, so the extra cushioning may reduce your pain.
Research presented in "Spine" magazine tested rocker shoes such as Shape-Ups against flat-soled shoes in the management of back pain. The results did not show significant difference in back pain when the two shoes were worn during exercise.
ACE experts suggest that wearing the Shape-Up shoes may encourage you to exercise more. If wearing the Skecher's shoes encourages you to perform an increased amount of daily exercise, you will burn calories. When you combine your exercise program with a healthy diet and do not overindulge on calories, you have a good chance of losing weight. You must create a calorie deficit to lose weight, meaning you must consume fewer calories than you burn. Weight loss, especially in the abdominal region, reduces the strain on the back muscles which can decrease back pain.