Thursday, August 30, 2007

Shoes That Make You Want To Exercise

I'm three months postpartum now, so it's probably time for me to get off my ass and start working out again unless I want to continue being mistaken for someone who is six months pregnant. But getting started is so hard: I have to find time, I need new workout clothes, and I have no idea what happened to my last pair of athletic shoes.

Well, I have shoes now, so there goes that excuse.

The Parent Bloggers Network asked me to try out a pair of walking shoes by Ryka. Actually, I had my choice of running or walking shoes, but the thought of me running made me laugh so hard I nearly choked on that donut I shouldn't be eating. Walking it is, then.

I was sent the MC2 Walk shoe, which is designed as a walking shoe that provides motion control with plenty of cushioning, especially in the heel. When I pulled them out of the box, I was pleased that they were white, and not some crazy color. I like funky shoes, but for working out, plain white is fine for me.

I was a little too excited to try these shoes out. I wore them out for the first time to an all-day convention, where I was walking around non-stop for over six hours. While they felt good at first, it didn't last. That marathon walking session in new shoes left my feet terribly sore. Lesson learned: no matter how good the shoe, take your time and slowly break them in!

However, after they were broken in, it was like walking on a cloud. Ryka does a great job providing ample cushioning for your feet. I'm flat footed, and as a result I tend to slap my feet on the ground when I walk. But wearing these shoes reduce the shock and help guide my foot into a proper step. I spent a lot of time walking the girls around the block in the stroller last week, and my feet never got tired, even when the rest of me was begging to get out of the heat and find that last ice cream sandwich hidden in the back of the freezer.

They were a little tight in the width at first, but now that I've worn them several times they're comfortable. I have wide feet, though, so this wouldn't be a problem for many. I like the weight of the shoe, too. It's lighter than many athletic shoes I've owned in the past.

Not a walker? They also have shoes for running, aerobic classes, and cross training. I'll admit I'm pretty fond of their hip mary jane cross trainer, too.

Overall, I'd recommend the MC2 Walk shoes from Ryka, with the warning to first break them in with a few short uses and not an all day long trial like I did. Aside from that first day, these shoes are comfortable, provide great cushioning, and provide good motion control. For a stroll around the block or a power walk on the treadmill, they'll keep your feet happy so you can focus on more important things, like willing fat to disappear from your problem spots.

Win shoes! Starting September 5 (next Wednesday), Ryka will be giving away 50 pairs of shoes A DAY! Stop by Ryka's website on or after Sept. 5 to enter to win!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Banish Burned Skin

If you've ever seen me in person, you know I'm quite pale. It should come as no surprise that I burn easily when out in the sunshine. Not quite spontaneous combustion, but without sunscreen it only takes ten minutes before I start to turn pink.

Now, if you've seen Cordy, you know she has my coloring, and is actually more pale than me. Sunscreen is a must for her, but trying to put something gooey or oily on a child who has sensory issues with anything like that touching her skin is not easy. I'd like to go play outside without going through a meltdown first.

So I was a little nervous when Parent Bloggers sent me samples of KINeSYS sunscreen. We were sent bottles of the spray-on sunscreen for adults and kids, a face stick, and a bottle of the lotion for kids. I knew the lotion wouldn't work for Cordy, so I tried the spray-on sunscreen.

Thank goodness the spray-on isn't aerosol. Cordy is afraid of aerosol cans, but only slightly perturbed by pump sprays. While she still whined while I applied it, she didn't freak out. The bottle said you didn't need to rub in the sunscreen, but I admit I did it anyway. Trying to spray an unwilling child means you probably miss a few spots, so rubbing just covered my bases. It dried in about three or four minutes - a little longer than they claim, but still acceptable.

I sprayed the adult sunscreen on myself, and didn't rub it in. Again, it took about three or four minutes to dry. It felt a little strange on my skin - silky or powdery is the best way I can describe it. That's still a huge improvement over the oily shell feel from most spray on sunscreens. The scent was light and pleasant.

Our first test was a cookout at a friend's house, out in the country. His backyard is full of toys, but not one tree, and it was a bright, sunny day. Amazingly, Cordy and I were burn-free after a full day of fun, with only one reapplication. Another test was our backyard on an oppressively hot day. I didn't sweat off the sunscreen, and Cordy's splashing in her pool didn't wash it off (sweat and water resistant). The result: no burn.

Probably the best part of the KINeSYS sunscreen is that it works for sensitive skin. It's free of any preservatives, PABA-free, oil-free, alcohol-free, and hypoallergenic. The kids sunscreen is also fragrance-free. Cordy and I both have sensitive skin, and this didn't bother our skin at all for regular use. Other sunscreens often cause Cordy's eczema to flare-up. The backs of her arms did get a little bumpy the one day I left the sunscreen on overnight, so if your child has sensitive skin, I'd recommend an early bath-time that night so it's not left on too long.

I also like the travel-size spray bottle, which is perfect to throw in the diaper bag so you're never without sunscreen.

So, to sum up the KINeSYS sunscreen: good sun protection, no greasy feel, easy application, good for sensitive skin, and doesn't freak out the kid with sensory issues. The only downside is the price: it's a little more expensive than your average sunscreen, but if you have sensitive skin and don't like oily sprays, I think it's worth it.

I have a feeling we'll be going outside more often now. Thanks to the Parent Bloggers Network for giving us the chance to try KINeSYS!