Although it is a prehistoric practice, today, running barefoot is in fashion. Professional runners are growing their interest in running without shoes and adopting the barefoot running style. Barefoot running ‘invites’ you to take off your running shoes as it has its scientifically proven advantages.
This study confirms that running barefoot enhances memory, and running efficiency and decreases injury risk.
But running barefoot is quite a slow process. As a beginner, you need to count every step, maintain proper posture, and focus on your feet, knees, ankles, and calves. Starting running barefoot on a treadmill is a great choice and will gradually enhance your stamina and endurance by decreasing any injury.
In this article, we will explore the advantages and tips on how you can run barefoot.
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Benefits of Running Barefoot on a Treadmill
Running barefoot strengthens the ligaments because the middle or front part of the foot is used and not the heel, as when wearing sneakers. This, in turn, strengthens the ligaments, prevents injury, and reduces the impact on joints and muscles.
Running barefoot also lowers heart rate, oxygen consumption, and therefore energy expenditure. But this depends on the category in which the athlete participates and on his physical condition; some runners without shoes have won gold at the Olympics.
Another benefit is that the runner can obtain better balance as the foot muscles are better extended to support the new posture and surface.
On the other hand, a study carried out by researchers from the University of North Florida discovered that running barefoot for at least 16 minutes improves memory since the person must pay attention not to place his feet on surfaces that hurt them.
Thus, unconsciously, the runner pays much more attention to his footprint and stride, increasing his concentration on his activity. The mind is more focused on the moment of the race, and the runner can improve the knowledge of his own body and optimize his running technique.
The short steps reduce the impact on the ground and facilitate the correction of the footprint. It also improves the posture of the runner, who is wearing sneakers and tends to go backward, but barefoot stays upright in a more practical way.
What to Prepare Before Running Barefoot?
To prepare to run barefoot, you can follow the next steps:
- Before engaging in running barefoot, it is important to avoid defective surfaces, which can cause injuries. It helps a lot to exercise barefoot on running tracks, the beach, treadmills, grass, or places where the terrain is kind, and you feel safe.
- The activity involves short strides but faster and with less risk.
- Once your feet get used to running barefoot, blisters and other common problems will be less common. The skin will get used to it.
- After about three days, try to extend your stride length by a couple of minutes.
- Keep running on surfaces where you feel safe, avoiding the pavement until your feet feel safe and have strength.
This process can take time, but with constant practice, you will see that you will be able to run barefoot and without problems.
Running barefoot has many benefits. For example, it strengthens the ligaments, prevents injury, and reduces the impact on joints and muscles.
So, if you decide to start with it, you must do it slowly on a soft surface such as a treadmill to avoid hypersensitization of the foot sole with the ground. Remember that you must run safely and without fear to make the movement natural.