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Friday, 20 June 2014

WHY GO BAREFOOT RUNNING



Barefoot Running The Three Reasons



The main debate only discusses whether we should wear trainers or not, however, this totally misses the point. There are three fundamental reasons why barefoot running is so important and they are discussed here, Starting with the most important which is proprioception

1  Proprioception

2  Earthing  (A bi-product of Barefoot Running)

3  Natural running is Barefoot Running

      Proprioceptions  This Is Why This Elephant Can Do This


The proprioceptive system (or 6th sense) is a series of contact points in our joints, muscles, tissue and skin that send feedback to our brain about what we are doing and where we are. With this information the brain produces a body pattern that is perfect for our situation.

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Many of these points are in our feet, which is obviously the main body part touching the ground. If for any reason incorrect signals are sent back to the brain, then the movement pattern produced by the brain would be different from what is required.
You can see why wearing thick shock absorbing soles would totally distort the feedback to the brain which would result in a pattern that could cause potential injury to the body, and that is the reason why more injuries occur with runners wearing trainers.

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Our feet have developed into an incredible instrument which has a vital job in helping the brain produce the right movement patterns so that we can function efficiently and without injury
The reason are bodies can jump, skip, run, throw, sit down and stand up, without us even thinking about it is because of proprioception, which is our body knowing its balance, movement and position without us even being involved.
As the foot is such a vital part in the body’s sensory protection system, why were shoes ever used?
The reason is that in its soft state it cannot cope with the natural terrain without a covering.
The surfaces in deserts and forests and with extreme temperatures meant that protective covers were required, i.e leather and fur etc. This has developed into the shoe, so in fact it was evolution.
When one thinks about it, all animals that run have also developed foot protection, either pads or hooves. However we  were designed to hold and climb and have the proprioceptors, glands and skin that are soft. So barefoot activity is incredibly important.
It is true that it is not necessary to run, any form of barefoot contact is important. However, with barefoot running you have the opportunity to benefit from all the three reasons mentioned in this article.
It would be very difficult to transition directly to barefoot, that is why minimalist shoes are an important option
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The Affect If Your Feet Are Restricted, I would be surprised if anybody did not agree with the following statement:

That running barefoot helps your feet become stronger and is the natural running method. Running in cushioning, motion-controlled footwear is like having your neck in in plaster for a month — when you take the plaster off, your throat muscles would be weak. The effect of movement restriction on your feet affects all your lower limbs and joints. No wonder all kinds of injuries are recorded

                     Earthing

Connection To The Earth

I was aware that the Tree Stance in Chi Kung was considered to be the most important basis for the whole practice of Chi Kung and is also a key part in Tai Chi.Additionally, the mountain pose in Yoga is a very important linking exercise between the asanas. So for thousands of years it has been a known fact that connecting with the earth was essential for increasing the well being and performance of the human body.

I knew this to be the case, however, it was with great delight that I discovered that western science is now certain of the tremendous health benefits of barefoot activity for the human body. When one walks barefoot in the grass or by the sea you feel really good and that is because you are making a direct connection with the earth.  But in our daily lives it seems very difficult to make this barefoot connection.

There are very clear physical and scientific reasons why we feel good and science has clearly confirmed this. We have a powerful electrical connection to the Earth and you will be  amazed how this affects every aspect of  your well being. There is more information on how you can benefit at


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This video gives an overview of how important Earthing is for us.





For you Marathon runners out there the Tour de France is far and away the toughest sporting event on earth, comparable to running 3 marathons a day for 22 days, I am sure you would be interested to see how important earthing is to the doctors and riders involved in the tour de france This video show that advanced sports scientist recognize how valuable the earthing connection is, and this video shows it in use on the riders in the Tour de France




This final video is from an eminent heart surgeon how clearly explains the tremendous experiences he has had using the earthing technology





Natural Running

Barefoot Running Those Against


It appears to me that those against barefoot running have two main Issues
The first is that to transition too quickly from normal trainers either to barefoot running or minimalist shoes could cause you problems. I think they are perfectly correct, and I do not know any barefoot running supporters who would think otherwise.
The second point is that an uncovered foot is prone to injury from objects on the ground. I think that is also correct, but the fact is that the very act of barefoot running, means you will naturally concentrate far more on the ground, so you would avoid anything that might damage your foot, see



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Another major factor is that until someone has fully transitioned to barefoot running they would not be receiving all the benefits of barefoot running.

So I think the main question to be asked is, how many barefoot runners who have transitioned , wish to go back to running in trainers ? and the answer to that is that I have never heard of anyone !!

7 Benefits of Barefoot Running
1.) Increased circulation and blood flow.
Problems with varicose veins? When your blood is flowing more efficiently it balances your temperature and helps out with blood related problems such as varicose veins. Your feet would be warmer in the winter and keep cool in summer. Your foot is totally restricted inside a shoe. It cannot rotate, flex or bend. When not in a shoe your foot move more three dimensionally and are having a great workout. As your feet move more and get stronger they need more blood and that is received from the body.  Also by becoming stronger they can obviously cure any foot condition that have been causing problems.
We have a much better connection to the ground when barefoot or in minimalist shoes, This means with proprioception the brain is receiving the right stimuli to handle our run and any challenges such as cracks or potholes in the road.I am sure we’ve all been caught out by pebbles or the odd pothole, especially in grass. So better balance is vital When were barefoot our increased awareness means the connection between our feet and brain works well, just as it should.To trip or fall could be dangerous, i.e you could twist an ankle and I am sure we are all concerned about that, but with this extra awareness the risk is much lessened.

3.) Decreased impact.
Increased contact with the ground means you won’t strike with heels but with the balls of your feet, this will reduce the impact on your joints and muscles. All you need to do is walk down the street with shoes and then take them off and walk, you will notice a massive immediate difference. When we feel the ground we naturally step lighter, this once again reduces impact on our joints. I have not run in shoes for years, but the latest stats show that running in shoes with a heel strike massively increases the pressure on joints but with barefoot running that pressure is not their at all
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4.) Increased muscle tone.
Without shoes your body has to balance itself, to do this it uses your core muscles your abs and back. This action will strengthen the whole of your midsection. Your legs will have to support you rather than shoes. This extra work will give you symmetrical strength and better tone and your balance will improve.  Also your calves will improve dramatically because of the amount of work needed for barefoot running

5.) Healing injuries.
We have heard many times how people had so many injury problems their running was very difficult or even that they had stopped.  It was the same for me.  Many now run pain free and without injury after going barefoot.
People have had shin problems, weak ankles, problems with plantar fasciitis, ACL tears in the knee, yet they are now running ok without these problems, It would seem that barefoot running is a must if this is the result.


6.) Stronger feet.
Any form of barefoot activity will strengthen the muscles in your lower legs and feet. Barefoot Running will also straighten out your toes and reduce aching in the evening after a long day. The feet will gradually reform as they were meant to be, before all those years in a restrictive box.(shoe) Your foot will change into the healthy pain free version it was meant to be. The result of all this is that you will have better posture

7.) Feel Great
Many studies have shown that regular exercise reduces anxiety, depression and stress, while at the same time making you feel much brighter and increasing your self esteem, this is commonly known as runners high! It has been quite clearly proven that barefoot activity can reduce your blood pressure and stress hormones (cortisol)  However, I don’t think we really needed science to show us this, every runner feels the benefits every time they run.