Some ads are simply too good to be true

Who wants to get a healthy fit body without any effort (or very little effort)?

Sign me up for that one.

If becoming fit and healthy was as easy as purchasing a certain product, I would know about it. Being able to decipher what’s for real and what is advertising spiel is not always an easy thing.

There is typically a hint of truth in everything said, but just how exaggerated is the ad? Can it really deliver what it claims to deliver?

Often I get asked about certain products that are seen on television, and my thoughts on whether they really work. Some I have tried more out of curiosity than anything.


The latest craze  is "toning or shaping" shoes made by several companies including Sketchers, MBT and Reebok that claim to "burn more calories, tone muscles and help you become stronger in the thighs, back, and abs, as well as improve posture and reduce joint stress."

Prices range from $100 to $245.

These shoes are designed with a curved sole to stimulate walking barefoot in sand, and are thought to stimulate more muscles in the lower body. That presumably creates more toned legs and glutes.

Also, because your body is balancing differently in these shoes, it is also believed that more core muscles are stimulated, resulting in a flatter stomach and stronger back for better posture. Sounds great, especially if you have a sedentary office job, and want to work your muscles each time you get up.

Consumers should be aware of studies that are sponsored by the manufacturers, because they can "prove" whatever results they want to prove.

The American Council on Exercise brought in a team of professionals to conduct their own study to test the effectiveness of the shoes and evaluate the company’s claims. One study was performed to evaluate exercise responses to walking in traditional athletic shoes versus the popular toning shoes.

The second study evaluated muscle activation when walking in each of the same shoes.

The results were that there were not real significant differences between any of the shoes. What about the claims of those with muscle soreness from the shaping shoes? Anytime you introduce a new variable into your workouts, muscles are worked differently, and you have the potential to become sore.


Will that translate into a toned butt and tighter hamstrings and calves? Probably not. But if these shoes motivate you to get out and move more, you will see more benefits from the extra exercise.

One concern about this type of shoe is the effect it may have on a person’s walking gait over time. Mechanics of your gait many change if you wear them daily, and in some cases, cause problems for anyone previously at risk for lower-extremity issues.

Although these shoes may not deliver on their claims, they may be fun to wear.

There is also a potential to improve on balance with consistent usage, but so is practicing the one leg stand for 60 seconds.

If new shoes motivate you to get active, then go for it. Good old-fashioned hard work is still the only way to get fit and healthy, no what fancy tools you may or may not have.

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