Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Barefoot Experience

When I first heard about barefoot running, several years ago, I was sceptical -don’t we need cushioning to protect us from injuries? And why would I want to run barefoot, anyway?

But several months ago, I read a few influential articles, my son sent me a link to Lee Saxby's book on Proprioception and I started to look at the issue from a therapist’s point of view, and apply what I have learned to my own gait.

The first thing I notice is that one is immediately a little slower. You can’t take as long a stride as it is necessary to keep your bodyweight over your centre of gravity to avoid the heel strike. Next I notice “an awareness”, I feel more connected to the ground. More importantly my back and unexpectedly even my shoulders feel more relaxed. After a long day when my body is sore, this soft bouncy motion eases tension. Barefoot runners say that their feet have become stronger, they feel better and whereas running was always fun, it now feels like play! I can see where they are coming from.

To demonstrate
1. Consider how you walk in shoes and then contrast it to how you walk around a swimming pool.
2. Have you ever noticed that children begin walking on the balls of their feet? They come down on their heels only when we put them in shoes!
3. Try this. Walk around barefoot with your eyes closed and allow your heel to hit the floor first as it does in a shoe. You’ll be able to hear and feel the shock of every step as it goes through the joints and the back. Then shorten your stride and land on the pad of your foot - no sound and no jarring!

Is this why I see so many people with low back pain back, SI joint and knee issues? Is this shock too much for a body? It makes me wonder…just what are we doing to ourselves!

I was so impressed I took the course and I am now a trainer, teaching running alongside my remedial massage clinic. I found that I could immediately take this training and use it to help with sports Injuries and general structural problems. At least 70% of the population have back injuries. Are our shoes to blame?

Its time to go back to basics, barefoot is best and barefoot shoes are the next best thing. Vivo do running shoes and a good range of casual shoes for men woman and most importantly for children. Be good to your feet.

‘And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.’
~Kahlil Gibran  

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