One of the most recent trends in jogging is also the oldest form of exercise in the history of humankind. Barefoot running has become a popular phenomenon in the US and many other countries thanks to the benefits that it provides. And while this form of running is not recommended for all locations such as streets or sidewalks, it does provide benefits that are superior compared to placing running shoes on your feet.
For most of our existence, humans did not wear shoes. Only in the past 10,000 years have primitive forms of shoes been created. And only in the past few thousand years have most people wear shoes. While shoes provide many benefits such as protection and keeping your feet away from the dust, dirt, and debris on the ground, they also have their drawbacks.
The basic definition of barefoot running is that you run without wearing shoes. Although that term may be a little confusing since there are special shoes which are designed for barefoot running. Essentially, this is a back-to-basics approach that takes advantage of the muscles in the feet, ankles, legs, and hips that provide advantages over wearing traditional running shoes.
In order to take advantage of barefoot running without the use of special shoes, you will need to select a location that is free of debris. In other words, your feet are quite vulnerable to sharp rocks, broken glass, and other types of debris that may cause injury. This means that in most cases you cannot choose to run along the street or even most sidewalks unless the area is continually cleaned.
However, most beaches provide the ideal location for barefoot running as the softer sand not only provides a cushion but also makes it less likely that any debris present will penetrate the skin. You will need to be careful of the heat in such cases.
The most obvious financial benefit is that you do not have to invest in a pair of shoes when running barefoot. However, there are other advantages that barefoot running offers that you may not be aware of.
Balance: Shoes not only surround your feet and lower ankles they also provide support which is normally done by the smaller muscles found in the feet, ankles, legs, and hips. By running barefoot, you reactivate and strengthen these smaller muscles which leads to better balance and coordination. This means that you run with more confidence and build up strength in important areas of your body.
Grounded: Another attribute is that you feel more grounded which in turn provides greater confidence when you run. This may be because running without shoes activates areas of the brain that are normally quiet when you are wearing running shoes. You feel more aware of your surroundings when running barefoot.
Finally, you feel more connected to the environment when you are running barefoot. This can be a wonderful feeling as your skin touches the ground and you feel the texture of the grass, sand, or dirt underneath.
If you still feel the need to wear shoes, there are special types called barefoot shoes that simulate the effect of running barefoot while still providing ample protection.
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