The Benefits of Running Barefoot
Running barefoot has many benefits for runners. It is easier on the feet, reduces stress, and improves flexibility. It can also help strengthen the calf muscles. But the main reason for running without shoes is that it’s more fun. Here are some benefits of running barefoot:
Less stress on the foot
While running with shoes on is a great way to stay fit, running barefoot places less stress on the foot. Running without shoes activates the muscles that control balance and coordination, which can help runners maintain proper form. In fact, some scientists believe that shoes actually destroy the tactile sense in the feet. They also weaken the intrinsic foot muscles. Moreover, wearing shoes for hundreds of years inhibits proper foot development, making the feet more susceptible to fatigue and injury.
According to Lieberman and colleagues, running barefoot may reduce injury risk. This is based on their findings of five groups of runners, including American runners who have always worn shoes and Kenyan runners who have never worn shoes. In addition, the authors found that shod runners strike the heels of their feet roughly 960 times per mile, and this is one of the most common causes of injury in runners.
Lower risk of injury
There are several advantages to running barefoot. Firstly, compared to running in shoes, the impact forces are lower. A heel-first foot strike generates a large force through the body and correlates with many running injuries. A barefoot runner tends to land on the ball of the foot, which produces less impact and lowers the stress on the body. Secondly, a barefoot runner does not have to worry about balancing the shoes as much.
Using running shoes can also increase the risk of an ankle sprain. This is because it reduces awareness of the foot position and the force transfer to the ankle during a stumble is reduced. Additionally, shoes reduce the ability of the foot to strike the ground vertically, increasing the risk of a plantar fasciitis-related injury. Running barefoot also allows a runner to burn more calories and be more challenging.
Running without shoes increases flexibility in several ways. The minimalistic style of running puts increased demands on the muscles and tendons in the lower leg and foot. The lack of rigidity in the shoe increases flexibility in the lower calf. A strong, flexible foot is vital for running without shoes. In addition, minimal footwear reduces the risk of foot injury. Running without shoes has its own benefits and risks. Listed below are some ways to get maximum benefit from minimal shoes:
Strengthening of the calf muscles
If you’re an athlete, you probably know the importance of strengthening your calf muscles while running. Strong calves are essential for preventing numerous injuries, allowing you to run faster. They also support your posture and absorb impact during your run. The strength of these muscles can help you avoid the pain of Achilles tendonitis and stress fractures. But you might not know that your calf muscles can also be a source of pain.
While running, the calf muscles are mainly responsible for controlling the position of the heel when you land on the ball of your foot. Consequently, you shouldn’t overwork them or you’ll experience pain. In addition, you should avoid jarring your calves with sudden movements. This can lead to overworking your muscles, which will ultimately result in calf pain and a long recovery period.