What is Barefoot Running?
Sound odd? Don’t be so skeptical! Barefoot running is in fact not all that odd. It is part of our primal instinct and is also very healthy for our feet! Yes, we are indeed talking about the cardiovascular exercise of running without shoes! This is still practiced in some parts of the world like India, Kenya, and even northern Mexico – much to their health advantage. People prefer to run barefoot are of the opinion that it helps them break loose from the feel of the constant cushioning provided by a shoe makes their feet more fragile and then has less endurance levels of being without them. Barefoot running therefore helps strengthen the feet. After all, before shoes were ever invented people still got around without them!
There are many advantages and disadvantages of running barefoot so let’s explore what exactly these are:
Advantages Of Bare Foot Running!
Barefoot Running Advantage # 1 For That Extra Strength
When running barefoot, your feet become more exposed and eventually learn how to sustain the roughness. This helps in the strengthening of the foot muscles, ligaments and tendons!
Barefoot Running Advantage # 2 For An Extra Edge
Running barefoot is the ideal practice for runners, as this helps their feet get trained to land on the forefoot instead of the heal. Landing on the forefoot is crucially important, however because of the heavily cushioned shoes runners wear, most have become used to landing on the heal. The forefoot is important because this helps runners maintain a smooth and light stride, it also helps the arches to act as shock absorbers.
Barefoot Running Advantage # 3 For Greater Balance & Coordination
When barefoot, the small muscles of the foot are more active, along with the muscles of your ankles, hips and legs. Therefore running barefoot even helps improve one’s balance and coordination!
Barefoot Running Advantage # 4 For Injury Prevention
Believe or not, but running barefoot also helps prevent many injuries. This includes, leg cramps, Achillies tendinitis, and even calf pulls!
Barefoot Running Advantage # 5 For Therapy
Running barefoot also makes you feel more connected to the ground. It’s also a source of therapy, as you are around nature, and are able to feel it. It makes you feel relaxed and peaceful!
Running Barefoot Disadvantage #1 Blisters
The most common problem people have when not wearing shoes is blisters! Blisters then turn into calluses; this can be both painful and inconvenient! Therefore in order to avoid these problems you will have to wear shoes or walk barefoot on a soft ground like sand or grass!
Running Barefoot Disadvantage #2 - Pain
Running barefoot can also encourage the risk of plantar pain. This is the pain that comes from the soft part of the foot sole. Being barefoot all the time can even increase the risk of Plantar Fasciitis’
Running Barefoot Disadvantage #3 – Insect Bites/Injuries
When running barefoot you are even vulnerable and prone to various kinds of insect bites which to many people is a huge disadvantage! This includes insects like leeches, ants, spiders and in some cases even snakes! Moreover, as your foot is exposed to the bare ground, it is easier to succumb to injuries.
Marathon Training Guide: Barefoot Running: marathon-training-guides.com
Barefoot Running - The Pros and Cons of Going Shoeless: sportsmedicine.about.com
Natural News: New Harvard Study Shows Advantages of Barefoot Running: naturalnews.com