Barefoot Running: Is It Truly Beneficial To The Health?

Human history will show us that we human beings have thrived and survived without the perks of technology and any of today’s invention. Yes, it was a simple life but it was also a more organic living that left no strain to the environment, natural resources and to our health.

As time went by, a lot changes have been made and we have elevated the status of our clothing and shelter. Most especially, we have learned to find a way to protect our soles from getting punctured or wounded when we run.

However, barefoot running has been steadily rising to fame once again. Ever since Christopher McDougall wrote his book Born to Run, a lot of runners have switched to this form of running. Nonetheless, if there was one reason why people are going back to the basics of running unshod, it is because running barefoot has been giving people relief from chronic injuries.

Experts and runners alike have been debating about the efficiency of running barefoot and how much it can help in improving one’s health and posture. It is known that the foot and the lower leg are very efficient in absorbing the shock of landing while running. It also turns the energy of the fall into forward motion through the springing action of the foot’s natural arch.

On the other hand, the large amounts of padding from a running shoe or the regular trainers causes you to land on the heel rather than on the ball of the foot. Therefore, the natural motion is impeded and the arch and lower legs are not able to absorb the shock of the movement. This can be quite dangerous because the shock of the motion is sent up through the heel and directly to the knees and hips.

A study shows that running in conventional trainers or shoes can increase stress on the knee joints up to at least 38% when compared to running barefoot. Although there is no real clear finding on whether it is also responsible for a higher rate of heel injuries, most people who have taken up minimalist running have been attesting to the fact that they can now jog and even run a marathon despite having recent injuries that impede their ability to do so.

A review from Michael Warburton in the journal Sports Science concludes that running barefoot contributes to the lesser occurrence of acute injuries in the ankle as well as a couple of chronic injuries of the lower leg. More so, the energy cost of running barefoot is reduced by about 4% because the feet lack the extra mass on the foot. So whether there is enough proof that running barefoot lessens injuries or not, it cannot be left unsaid that there are substantial benefits that can be reaped from it.

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