Humans have been walking and running barefoot for centuries, or better said for thousands of year, or in the best case wearing sandals. Nowadays with the advancement of technology running barefoot may sound at least strange. However, a few years ago, running barefoot saw an increasing number of supporters. This trend though, seems to have deflate. In this article we will examine if there was any basis behind the barefoot running theory. So here are 9 reasons for running barefoot:
One of the first benefits of barefoot running is that it helps to remove the heel lift of most shoes, helping the Achilles tendon and calf muscle stretch and lengthen, possibly reducing injuries, such as calf pulls or Achilles tendonitis caused by short, tight motion. According to some experts, wearing shoes causes the small muscles in our feet to be
weakened and the ligaments, tendons, allowing the natural arches to stop doing their job. They also believe that the result of supportive shoe inserts, extra cushioning and orthotics is poor foot biomechanics and increased risk of foot, leg and knee injuries. Runners wearing shoes with a higher drop often make their landings right onto their
heels, basically relying solely on the shoe’s larger amount of padding. Landing that way results in a forceful jolt (also known as an impact transient force spike) through the Knees, ankles, hips, and even the spine. Oppositely, Those who run in bare feet tend to more often land directly onto their forefoot or sometimes midfoot, with the centered point of landing closer to the center mass of the body. They use the natural shock-absorption of the muscles, ligaments and tendons all around the knees, ankles and feet, meaning that the runner doesn’t have the same
type of impact spike throughout their joints. This is the reason why people who run without shoes, or in minimalistis models, often report the elimination of injuries (that were caused by bad form that they no longer use) and more essentially, that running is more fun!
2. Better ground contact
This style of running not only helps to improve balance, but it also helps you feel more grounded and connected with your environment. You’ll learn how to spread your toes and expand your foot while it becomes a more connected and solid base that supports all your movements.
3. Greater balance
You may improve proprioception and balance. Without shoes, you can activate the smaller muscles in your feet, legs, ankles, and hips that are responsible for better balance and coordination. And by having much better ground contact, the vestibular system begins to awaken, remapping and stimulating previously unused neural connections for improved balance. This is particularly important for some older runners, as a single fall or fracture can set in motion a full on decline in health overall.
Runners will learn how to land on the forefoot rather than the heel. The heel strike during running only come because of the excessive padding of running shoes, but research shows that isn’t the most effective natural running stride. Landing on the heel is basically putting on the breaks for every footfall. The most efficient runners land on the midfoot and keep their strides light, smooth and flowing. Landing on the forefoot also permits your arches to act as natural shock absorbers and for a softer landing on hard surfaces. Most people today think this type of running hurts and is dangerous, but in fact you can run this way on the world’s hardest surfaces without the slightest discomfort and pain.”
5. Increased strength
For everything, you use something; What you use and develop you keep, just as long as you keep doing it. But, once you stop using it, it atrophies. Running shoe-less not only prevents some running injuries but also wakes up new muscles, both for balance and support. When most people begin going barefoot that means their feet begin to function more naturally, allowing more strength to be gained. It helps to tone all of runner’s leg muscles in the process.
6. Less chance of foot conditions
As the feet gain more strength, issues such as plantar fasciitis tend to decrease. Many often to also see improvements from conditions like foot neuromas, bunions and hammertoes. Even arthritis has been known to gradually heal itself as the foot develops greater flexibility, blood flow, and of course greater strength.
7. Better circulation
Going without shoes actually tends to awaken muscles of the legs and feet that have been previously dormant, while increasing blood flow to those limbs to get moving. The increased blood reduces many of the pains, varicose veins.
8. Better posture
We’ve all picked up unhealthy habits in the more traditionally designed shoes. The typical running shoe isn’t really just simply a shoe; it’s one which has a relatively high-heel, standing about 1-2 inches on average in height. To keep from losing balance, we often find ourselves bending forward a bit at the waist, putting more strain on our lower back, upper back, neck, hamstrings and shoulders. It also tends to put more force on the feet, hips and knees when running. Once the habits are broken by changing the type of running shoe to a much lower profile design, the effects make eventually begin to reverse some. By allowing yourself to have more contact with the ground, those nerve endings that are around the bottom of the feet will start letting us know when we are leaning forward or if we are bending forward from the waist. By running with minimal footwear, we tend to naturally do so with better posture. Not only do we look better and get taller, but do we greatly reduce all of the stress and strain on our bodies.
9. Reduced inflammations
Going barefoot has been shown to reduce inflammation. One solution may be grounding, the process of reducing inflammation by standing and walking with bare feet on the ground. Studies have shown that free radicals, the pesky buggers take responsibility for inflammation carry a positive charge. Although these positively charged particles play an important part in our immune system and the healing response, if we don’t know how to drain them, they will build up in our bodies, create excess inflammation and cell/tissue damage. Meantime, the earth naturally contains a huge negative charge. So you should run barefoot, it’s your body’s way of discharging this unwanted charge. Direct contact with the ground also permits us to discharge free radicals.