Jennifer Belsar a mum of four from regional Australia who is fit, healthy and loving the independence regular exercise provides.
Living in the rolling hills of Gippsland, the opportunities to run, ride and walk are endless, and she takes full advantage of them all.
An artist who runs a Weld Like a Girl program in the region, Jennifer needs full support in her footwear because she is tall, has flat feet and is always on the go.
She seeks more than fashion in her footwear because she is on her feet a lot. Here’s her thoughts on maintaining her own fitness, the type of footwear she chooses and the multitude of benefits - both mind and body - that it generates.
Tell me about your exercise footwear Jen
Jen: I have flat feet, and exercising can be a problem for me. They get really sore if I’m on them for too long. My arch is quite low. So what I’ve done is I have my feet specially fitted with proper running shoes. They’ve really made a difference having support in the arch and heel which is where most of the soreness in my feet comes from.
Footwear has come a long way since I was a kid, and the support in modern running shoes is really important to me. I want to be strong, stay strong and keep going, and I was willing to pay any price for shoes that could provide this.
What sports shoes do you wear?
With the way I exercise, which is a mix of running or cycling three to four times a week, the shoes I wear now ASICS have taken all of the pain away. It means I can exercise as much I want to. In the past the pain in my arches would stop me from wanting to get on the track, but I look forward to it and enjoy running now because I know I’m not going to need to rest and recover each time.
Having flat feet affects your knees and your hips as well. I’d get joint pain, especially in the hip, because my body wasn’t aligned correctly in my old footwear. I used to just buy my running shoes online not knowing the exact shoes I should be wearing, or really even understanding the benefits of correct-fitting footwear. I’m a size ten, so I’d just grab a size ten online and be done with it.
Getting fitted at SportsPower helped sort out that pain in my knees and hips as well.
What is your attitude to the benefits of regular exercise?
Well, your feet strike the ground first. It’s your body’s first contact with the ground and without the right strike how can you expect to run or exercise without causing injury in poorly-fitting shoes? If your feet are not in the right shoes, everything else is out of line, so you’ve got to get that right.
It’s like the foundation of anything you do in exercise begins with the point of contact.
What’s your recommendation for people wanting to get into fitness mid-life?
Just get into it. Get into SportsPower first and make sure you get measured correctly for running shoes, or whatever shoes you need for the activities you choose. Personally, it’s given me the confidence to buy other products knowing they will fit correctly and support my feet, and hips and knees. If you don’t know what you need, that’s no issue. They’ll help you get the right outcomes.
Moving it, losing it. I like that theme. I’ve been able to really trim my legs and tush by riding as much as I do, and I love the confidence it gives me as well in so many other areas of life.
I’m a big reader and a couple of years ago I read some research which listed the benefits of exercising regularly: how it affects your health systems, your strength, your mental health. And they stopped counting at 1000 individual benefits.
Personally, it’s the sharpness of my mind that I suppose gets overlooked as a health benefit, but it’s probably number one. You can work hard without getting tired, and being stronger is so underrated.
Now I can lift stuff, heavy stuff like welders and large pieces of metal my students create in my workshops. Most importantly, as we get older people often complain about losing their independence. Falls start to become an issue for people over the age of 50, and I can’t afford to have that happen. I’ve actually tripped trip down in the garden or down in the shed and few times, but because I’m strong and balanced I haven’t fallen.
If you just keep your body strong, supple and moving, you don’t lose your independence.
So what’s the first step?
It’s just not worth waiting for anyone but you to get going. We spent thousands or millions of dollars on our homes, but very little looking after our bodies, our temples. You have to live in your body so look after it keep it strong. If I can do it, anyone can.