If you’re still focused on your New Year’s resolution to exercise more, congratulations! Whether you’re hitting the streets or hitting the gym, your feet are an important part of your exercise routine. Don’t neglect them! Proper-fitting shoes are critical for both your comfort and safety, as well as the ultimate success of your activity. If your feet hurt, chances are you won’t stick with it. Some tips: • Purchase shoes made for your sport. For example, walking shoes are stiffer while running shoes are more flexible and have more cushioning to manage the higher impact. • Shop for shoes toward the end of the day when your feet are at their largest, due to regular swelling that happens through the course of the day. • Measure your foot before purchasing shoes. It’s a myth that an adult’s foot size doesn’t change. At the gym, protect yourself against athlete’s foot, a common fungal infection you can easily pick up in public showers and locker rooms. First and foremost, always wear bathing shoes in public facilities. Carefully wash your feet with soap and water daily, thoroughly drying them—especially between the toes. Talcum powder on your feet will also help, as will wearing lightweight and airy shoes and keeping your feet dry by changing shoes and socks frequently. And don’t forget about preventing blisters, which are caused by the combination of moisture, friction, and heat. Your best defense is a pair of moisture-wicking socks. Double-layer socks can help reduce friction on your skin. Lubricants like Vaseline or high-tech options can help reduce friction in key spots, if applied frequently. Staying hydrated will also help reduce swelling in your feet and help your skin protect itself against friction. Take care of your feet and you’ll get a leg up on better health through exercise .