What is your experience with running barefoot
Learning to walk barefoot: this is how "natural running" works
Running shoes are becoming more and more sophisticated. There is a suitable pair for all possible foot positions and movements. They stabilize our steps and reduce the stress on the joints. Nevertheless, even the most modern shoes can have negative aspects. Running shoes that have been bought without advice from an expert rarely fit exactly in length and width to the centimeter. They are too tight, the laced too tight or the foot slips back and forth in the shoe. Loss of control can lead to injury.
If you regularly walk in the wrong shoes, your feet are exposed to unnecessary stress, which can lead to health problems and spread to the entire body. Misaligned feet are at best compensated for with suitable running shoes, but not treated. And such misalignments are not the exception, but the rule. Large parts of the population struggle with flat, flat or splayfeet.
Benefits of walking barefoot
Our feet are equipped with many receptors and numerous muscles and perceive the ground precisely. If you step crooked, your feet will recognize this immediately and compensate for the movement. It is therefore almost impossible to bend over barefoot. If, on the other hand, you wear shoes, this mechanism is impaired as they prevent the foot from rolling naturally, reports TK. If you run barefoot regularly, you will strengthen your ligaments and muscles, which will stabilize your ankle. This allows you to counteract misalignments and prevent injuries.
Barefoot you are faster
Walking barefoot not only helps against malpositions, but also has other advantages. On the one hand, the weight of the shoes is reduced, on the other hand, walking barefoot improves running economy. Runners: inside without shoes take shorter steps, the step frequency is thus shorter and the ground contact is lower.
Not necessarily faster, but unforgettable is the Ethiopian marathon runner Abebe Bikila, who completed the 42.195 kilometers at the Summer Olympics in Rome in 1960 barefoot because he couldn't get any replacement shoes for his expired kicks in a hurry. Bikila won gold and set a world record.
Better performance by walking barefoot? Check it out!
Do you find it hard to believe that increased pace and less time on the ground when you run barefoot? Then test it out. Complete one training session with and one without shoes and record the workout with your Garmin watch. Then compare both training units in Garmin Connect and share your experiences with us!
Walking barefoot helps prepare for competitions
Of course, not every surface is suitable for walking barefoot. Especially when competing on asphalt, you should use running shoes to avoid injuries.
However, it makes sense to train barefoot on sand or grass. Walking barefoot strengthens the muscles in the foot and protects you from injuries such as heel spurs and Achilles tendinitis. You can also train barefoot on the treadmill at home.
Walking barefoot is healthy - but you shouldn't overdo it, especially at the beginning. If you are not used to running without shoes, you will feel your calf muscles after just a 30-minute run. Do a maximum of two barefoot units per week, otherwise your Achilles tendon can cause you problems due to overload.
Other health benefits
Moderate barefoot walking brings you other health benefits. Regular barefoot runners: indoor athlete's foot is less common because the air keeps the foot dry. The increased blood circulation also protects against fungal attack.
Patrik Reize, Medical Director of the Clinic for Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery at the Stuttgart Clinic, points out another advantage of "natural running": The soles of the feet are stimulated, which has a positive effect on the internal organs. Reflex arcs and interconnections in the body are responsible for this.
According to Germany's initiative for healthy eating and more exercise, you can also strengthen your immune system by walking barefoot. Running on cold or wet surfaces activates the body's own temperature regulation. The famous water-treading Kneipp cure is based on this principle. Because for the naturopath Sebastian Kneipp, "Cold stimulus is vital stimulus" was already valid back then.
This is how you learn to walk barefoot
Why learn Anyone can do that, right? Of course, you are immediately able to walk without shoes - but there are a few points you should keep in mind. To get started, you can stick to a "natural running" training plan. Give your muscles time to get used to the new loads. Start with exercises that will help you restore the connection between your feet and the ground.
For example, toe gymnastics, also known as "Toega" yoga, is recommended. Stretching and stretching strengthens the toes and increases mobility. A deep squat also helps to ensure that the feet are correctly raised when walking barefoot - because it teaches you to keep your center of gravity above the ball of the foot. You can train the elasticity and resilience of the tendons by jumping with short contact with the ground, like jumping rope. Maintain a straight posture and balance so that you are best jumping in the same place.
When running barefoot, you prefer to start with short distances on soft surfaces. At first every stone hurts under the soles of the feet. You will find that in running shoes you are more likely to hit your heel. Barefoot automatically puts more weight on your midfoot and forefoot. While running, keep your torso upright so that your feet are directly below you when you hit. Stay relaxed throughout your body. The steps should feel light and bouncy to you.
Diabetics should be careful when walking barefoot
Warning: walking barefoot is not unrestrictedly suitable for everyone. Diabetics or people whose pain sensation may be impaired must be aware of any injuries to the foot prior to infection. It is also advisable to wear sturdy shoes with osteoarthritis or bone-related malpositions.
Barefoot shoes as a compromise
Many runners: inside swear by it: barefoot shoes in which each toe has its own place. In this way, the "natural running" feeling should be maintained, but the sole should provide protection on roads and stony dirt roads. It is important that you adapt your style to running barefoot - that is, land on the ball of your foot and not on your heel. Otherwise the lack of cushioning in the entire musculoskeletal system can lead to discomfort. Of course, such toe shoes are also a good alternative in the cold. They protect you from numbness and frostbite. You can find more information about barefoot shoes here!
Improve your running style: How to find the perfect running technique
Would you like to improve your running technique? We'll show you exercises that you can incorporate into your training. How to find the perfect running style!
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