Pros And Cons Of Barefoot Running

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Running is considered as one of the most effective forms of exercise for many athletes who are also health conscious individuals. Usually people run with shoes having stiff soles. However, it may sound strange to you, but nowadays barefoot running is getting its popularity in the community. Well, let us find out the science facts about this running type. Is this beneficial for you or not?

Barefoot running doesn’t mean that you need to be completely barefoot. There are quite some minimal running shoes that can protect your feet from spiky objects on the ground without giving your feet support and cushioning like regular running shoes.

Conflicting Findings

According to the human and evolutionary biologist Prof. Daniel Lieberman, barefoot running is healthier compared to running with shoes. Thus it helps to strengthen the foot as the intrinsic muscles of the foot support the arch work harder. In addition to this, he also implied that typical running shoes are composed of thick soles as well as thick pads that results the foot to do less work. There is also a possibility that it may lead to develop a collapsed and low arch.

On the other hand, a certain published paper entitled Royal Society Interface opposes the finding of Lieberman. Luke Kelly together with his team at the University of Queensland, Australia stated that there is an increase in the use of foot muscles when individuals tend to run with shoes compared to running barefoot. Since foot will interact to the soft landing surface of a particular shoe. Thus it needs more muscles to maintain stability.

Benefits of Barefoot Running

Several scientific research studies revealed that barefoot running have lots of benefits to individuals. However, it was still under observation before formulating a final hypothesis about it. To mention a few, the following are some of the benefits of it.

  • Muscle strength. It cannot be denied that a healthy foot is equivalent in having a strong foot. Definitely, barefoot running can be the most efficient way to have a strong foot. Thus, it totally strengthens the muscles on your foot especially on the arch area. As a result, you can run more in a comfortable as well as more convenient manner.
  • Great feeling. If you choose to run barefoot, you can experience a great feeling thus you can have a low impact force while landing as you run. As a result, you can be more relaxed and more comfortable. For some instances, you can also run faster if you choose barefoot running.  This can be the best way for you to relax while inhaling fresh air in your running habit.
  • Acquire new skill. The good thing about the scientific facts of barefoot running is that as a runner you will learn how to land with your forefoot instead of your heel. Instead of landing with your heel which can cause braking on your stride, you will learn how to land using your forefoot. In return, you can feel more relaxed, thus it can reduce the force or tension that you may feel on your foot landing.
  • It is very helpful to enhance your balance as well as proprioception.  You may not know it, but running barefoot helps to activate the smaller muscles on an individual’s legs, hips, feet as well as ankles. You may observe that the latter mentioned body parts are all important in maintaining balance as well as coordination of your body.

If you choose to try barefoot running be careful. Start out slowly just one or two miles in the beginning. You could also end a run with ten minutes of slow barefoot running on a soft surface.

Disadvantages of Barefoot Running

On the other hand, barefoot running has also some potential disadvantages. This can be best summed up in the following examples.

  • It may result in a shock on your foot which may lead into a low adaptation phase. As an experienced runner, for sure you cannot easily adopt this type of running since you can feel more comfortable while running with your sport shoes. In return, you can have the chance to receive some injuries on your feet.
  • It cannot give you a strong protection. It is a fact that, whether you are a professional runner or not, you may encounter some dangerous things on the ground where you tend to run with. In connection to this, if you choose to run barefoot, you cannot protect your feet from sharp and edgy materials on the running ground such as debris, rocks, nails, thorns and other materials.

To sum it up, barefoot running can be beneficial to make your feet healthy. However, it can also have a negative impact when it comes to the protection of your feet. It still depends on the individual if he or she chooses to run barefoot or not. Meanwhile, with careful training, barefoot running can be advantageous both for your feet and endurance.

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