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August 18, 2009 at 8:51 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Foot Lose and Running Free!

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Many cultures practice barefoot running without the high rate of injury that we might expect.

Is there any feeling more freeing than the one you experience right after you've kicked off your shoes at the end of the day? Perhaps there's something to that.

A growing body of research is now suggesting that your health may benefit from doing more without shoes namely, running. For many years, shoe manufacturers have sold high-tech and high-price sneakers on the premise that comfort and support are necessary for a safe and beneficial run. However, as researchers point out, over the past 30 years, running shoes have not prevented injury, have not allowed for full use of foot muscles, and may have even contributed to risk of ankle sprains and other foot injuries.

Of course, there is an obvious reason to wear shoes while running - going barefoot leaves your feet vulnerable to rocks, sticks, and various sharp objects on the ground. However, many cultures practice barefoot running without the high rate of injury that we might expect. This might be because going barefoot forces one to pay close attention to the positioning of the feet, thereby lessening the chance of injury.

How Barefoot Running Changes Your Stride for The Better

When you run barefoot, your foot naturally responds to the impact of the ground. This means that your legs will take a shorter stride, and rather than landing on your heels first, you will come down on the middle or ball of your foot. Your foot will then roll inward, and the arch will help to absorb the impact as it flattens. The arch will return to its normal shape when you lift your foot and spring off the ground. This works your muscles and joints in the way they are designed to perform.

When the muscles in your foot work properly, there is less risk of ankle twisting, spraining, and general foot discomfort. Shoes themselves have long been decried as the reason for foot problems. Footwear that functions for fashion rather than support, such as stiletto heels, squeeze the feet into unnatural positions, and crowd the bones, joints, nails, and muscles in an unnatural way.

Tips for Beginner Barefoot Runners

If the idea of running barefoot is a little more than you'd like to dive into, try simply wearing shoes that give your feet room to move naturally. After a while, you might try a pair of shoes that have been designed to mimic running barefoot as closely as possible. Try going barefoot around the house and in the yard. The soles of your feet will begin to toughen, making you less susceptible to small nicks and cuts on the bottom of your feet.

If you do eventually start running barefoot, stick to soft surfaces like grass and dirt paths. Apart from thoughts on barefoot running, there is a theory about physical contact with the ground. The idea is that when a part of your body is touching the ground, you are able to absorb electrons that can help to fight any free radicals that might be attacking your system. This concept was prevalent historically when our ancestors walked and slept directly on the ground. Our feet were designed to carry us around, and when they are restricted by supposedly healthy shoes, they lose their natural strength and ability. So don't hesitate to kick off your shoes and feel the earth move beneath your feet!


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