Have you heard the latest trend, running barefoot?
Posted On August 6, 2022
Well, it’s not exactly a new thing, people have been running around barefoot since the beginning of time, however, the new show, “Dual Survivor”, has really given it a lot of attention lately. Research has shown that this technique has many potentially great benefits, when adopted slowly.
As a child I went barefoot everywhere, to my mother’s disapproval, of course. I ran to my friend’s house down the street, played football in the park, and even did gymnastics in the front yard. Who knew that this would become a popular training method?
Studies show that there are many advantages to limiting footwear to going completely barefoot.
– Strengthens the foot muscles, especially the arch
– Less energy in the forefoot due to the use of natural springs in the calf muscle
– Hip and lower back pain
– Eliminates gait problems (excessive pronation, insufficient pronation)
– Allows a natural range of motion
– Shoes cause our tendons and ligaments to shorten, weaken muscles and increase the risk of foot and ankle injuries.
Disadvantages can include:
– Injuries to the sole of the foot due to terrain
– It takes time to readapt new habits of using more of the forefoot or midfoot instead of the heel
– Increased risk of developing Achilles tendonitis when switching from heel strike to midfoot strike.
Did you know that there are 52 bones in the foot alone? The anatomy of the foot is designed to allow the transfer of body weight from the heel to the lateral midfoot. It then moves quickly through the ball of the foot to move the body forward. Our feet have many sensors that supply the central nervous system with information about the distribution of our weight. This provides information that is used during dynamic and functional movements. This information activates which muscles need to be used. Some studies say that footwear cuts that information. The shoes are designed to protect the foot and prevent injury and provide a neutral foot and ankle during training.
The debate is that with all this protection that we’re trying to provide, we might actually be preventing the body from doing what it’s naturally supposed to do, which is move in a natural pattern.
If you want to adapt this type of training, follow these precautions first.
Start slowly. If you don’t know how to swim, you wouldn’t dive too deep, would you? The same goes for barefoot training. Let your foot adapt to this new way of training, start by doing a fraction of your training barefoot. Paying special attention to the terrain that will be worked on (objects such as glass, thorny bushes, etc., should always be a concern).
For strength training programs, you can start by warming up without shoes, moving slowly, paying attention to your foot landing (beginners should avoid plyometric-type exercises for now).
For an initial warm-up use:
– Leg swings
– Bear Tracking
– High Knee Hugs
then graduate to
– high knees
– butt kickers
– Side lunge jumps
– Two foot jumps
Once your body has adjusted to the barefoot training exercises above, you can start adding low-level plyometric training to your workouts.