Why I Choose Barefoot Running

Health & FitnessExercise & Meditation

  • Author Blair Sutherland
  • Published March 23, 2012
  • Word count 509

I started my new year off like so many other people by vowing to become healthy and fit. I did a ten-day juice fast, shed ten pounds and took up barefoot running.I have tried running before but all it did for me was hurt my lower back, and I'm not a big fan of pain when I am trying to get healthy. Running is a great way to get healthy and fit if you are doing it right, so I decided to try barefoot running.The more correct term for what I am doing is minimalist running because I am not running in my bare feet. I bought some shoes that are as close to going barefoot as you can get and they are working great!I started slowly and am building my way to longer distances and faster speeds. This is one of the most important factors in starting any new exercise program but especially with running.Why barefoot running you might ask? I did some research and what I found made a lot of sense to me. It seems as if we are designed to run, contrary to popular belief. We are not, however designed to run with our feet bound up by shoes.Our feet have a very complex design. There are more than twenty-six bones, thirty-three joints and over one hundred ligaments, muscles and tendons. The arch of the foot is designed to be a perfect shock absorber when it is functioning properly, this means without shoes. Shoes tend to limit the range of motion that our feet need to stay healthy as well as contributing to a weak foot.The main reason my lower back used to hurt when I ran was that I was striking the ground with my heel. When I run barefoot I don't land on my heel, I land on the ball of my foot which activates the shock absorbing arch. There has been some excellent research on the differences between running with standard running shoes and running with no shoes or minimalist footwear. The results of these studies are fascinating to me.First of all, researchers at the University of Oregon found that the more cushioned the shoe, the harder the impact of the foot on the ground. When you have softer shoes your body instinctively wants to hit harder to find a solid foundation as quickly as possible to protect your foot.Secondly the findings of Harvard University researchers state that the impact of a heel strike is like being hit on the heel with a hammer at a force of 1.5 to 3 times your body weight. The force of the impact affects your foot, ankle, knee and hips and consequently the lower back.So, after reading this research and taking my own experience with running into account, I am sold on the barefoot running approach, it makes sense to me and it doesn't make me hurt. I am able to continue running and pursue my new years resolution of being healthy, wealthy and wise with barefoot running.

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