“Exercising barefoot? Isn’t that bad for your feet?” is what most people ask when they hear anyone talk about any type of barefoot exercise. For most people, all of their lives, they were taught that they had to have shoes on their feet when going outside, running or exercising so now why the drastic change to leave the shoes behind? Just like everything, shoes have become more advanced as our society grows. We now have specific shoes for every activity and for every foot type and there are even shoes now with computer chips inside of them to adjust the cushion of the shoe as you run. With all of these advances in shoes, our feet are put in poor positions, and no longer have to work hard to maintain our balance, arches or provide us with shock absorption.
Research has found that those who run barefoot, or in minimal footwear, tend to avoid "heel-striking," and instead land on the ball of the foot or the middle of the foot. In so doing, these runners avoid hurtful and potentially damaging impacts, equivalent to two to three times body weight, that heel-strikers repeatedly experience. Because of these findings some physical therapists have begun having their patients exercise, walk and run barefoot.
Asking people to ditch their shoes after all these years of being told not only that they needed shoe but that the most supportive shoes were the best, can prove to be very difficult. There are various minimalist shoes that allow your feet to be in a better position for ambulation. They also tend to be more flexible and allow for more foot range of motion to help improve the efficiency of the foot, leg and body as a whole. Against people’s tradition beliefs about the necessity of shoes, going barefoot and allowing the body to do its job can help to heal and prevent injuries as well as allow people to walk with a natural gait.
Rebecca LeSaffre is the owner of Lynnfield Boot Camp. She is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, a Fitness Nutrition Coach and a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant. She is qualified to assess what types of exercises will be most beneficial for meeting personal fitness goals, while also helping assure that you use proper form for maximum results and injury prevention. You can contact her via her web site www.lynnfieldbootcamp.com