"What Is Barefoot Training Supposed to Accomplish? " is an excellent example of a paper on fitness and exercise. Barefoot training aims to accomplish two basic goals and these are, to achieve “ the visceral, animal-like usage of feet” just like it was initially purposed and to fully appreciate the “ extra-sensory and tactile experience” that one gets when they are barefoot (Aaron). The barefoot training enthusiast argument stretches that human beings were born barefoot and should go back to training barefoot in order to achieve the primal benefits of barefoot running has taken the center stage lately. According to the health philosophy, there are more benefits to running barefoot than there are to running in shoes; the intricate structures in the feet are designed to keep people in an upright and graceful posture, but they can only achieve these functions if they are not bound up in shoes.
Our ancestors were able to develop a hard skin and tough ligaments due to running around barefoot, features that no longer exist in the modern man, due to wearing shoes. The feeling of recently cut grass under the barefoot can be so relieving and sensational, but all that is missed out when one is wearing shoes on their feet; in other words, wearing shoes inevitably inhibits our ability to feel and experience the interaction of our feet with nature.
In that case, going back to barefoot running will inevitably enable individuals to realize the primitive, animal-like functionality of the feet as originally purposed from birth as well as to appreciate the extra-sensory and perceptible familiarity that only comes with barefoot running. Science does support the idea of running barefoot because it is scientifically understood that the inadequate or disuse of body features may eventually lead to poor functionality or total loss of utility of those features altogether. The technically designed shoes do provide excessive support, cushioning and stability, which inevitably makes the muscles as well as neuromuscular pathways of the foot and ankles weak and ineffective in carrying out their intended functions (Aaron).
The barefoot training trend is fast becoming an industry standard with both athletes and fitness trainers focusing on strengthening and maintaining strong feet; training barefoot does help in strengthening the foot and ankle muscles, which eventually allows them to complete the connective pathway that runs throughout the body.
Nearly 30% of all body joints are located in the feet, which makes the feet not only the base of support but also the foundation of movement. Given that the entire human body is intricately interconnected, any sort of imbalance in the foot inevitably impacts the lower leg and extends all the way up to the hip and the pelvis as well as to the thoracic spine and the shoulder (Perry).
In that respect, the feet must have strength, mobility as well as proprioception to provide sufficient support while allowing for swift and smooth movement of individuals, thereby increasing the athletic performance while reducing the possibility of injury (Rooney). There are numerous benefits to running barefoot but the most basic one is that it does improve foot biomechanics; training barefoot helps in strengthening the small muscles in the feet consequently increasing medial height (Aaron). In that respect, training barefoot helps individuals to develop a more natural gait while strengthening the muscles, tendons as well as foot ligaments.
Contrariwise, wearing shoes only leads to the negative impact because it leads to the weakening of the muscles, tendons, ligaments as well as natural arches while undermining their functionality. Furthermore, training barefoot does help the Achilles tendon and calf muscle to stretch and lengthen thereby significantly diminishing the potential for harm or injuries that one may be exposed to. Better yet, training barefoot leads to improved balance and coordination because it does activate the smaller muscles in the feet, which are responsible for enhanced balance and coordination respectively.
In addition to that, training barefoot allows one to feel more grounded because it allows individuals to spread their toes and to expand the feet thereby increasing the base of support for movements. Despite its numerous advantages, there are a few disadvantages to training barefoot as well, particularly the risk of harm due to lack of foot protection from debris or insulation. Training barefoot may also increase Achilles Tendinitis as well as Calf Strain and plantar pain since it inevitably does away with the conventional heel lift; it has also been found that by wearing specialized shoes, a vast range of the usual biomechanical problems can be reduced significantly while preventing the risk of injury. Shoes like the Vibrams have been taunted as the ultimate barefoot training tools, particularly for individuals that want to retain some protection for their feet (Ugi Fitness Inc).
Vibrams take individuals as near as possible to the experience of being barefoot while still guaranteeing the achievement of the biomechanical benefits of going barefoot. These specialized shoes are specifically designed to maintain the feeling of being barefoot while ensuring that the foot is also protected from dirt as well as sharp objects that may inflict physical injury to the feet.
The Vibrams shoes are nearly as effective as training barefoot since training in them also enables one to strengthen the foot and ankle muscles thereby providing strong base support for movement respectively. Shoes like the Vibram five fingers have raised ripples across the industry thereby creating a great buzz around the issue of foot health since they are designed in the shape of the human feet.
The shoes have their own unique sizing system that is consistent across both gender’ s models; the shoes are designed in such a way that individuals’ toes and heel fit into each pocket of the shoes comfortably and snuggly, thereby providing the near-barefoot experience. Finally, the danger of running in mechanical shoes is that it compels one to land on the heel as they step forward, which is unnatural and may result in the undue shock as well as the potential of injury to one’ s knees and the back.
Top marathoners have proven that the best and most effective way of running is to land on the ball of the feet while maintaining a light and smooth steps because it enables their arch to provide a natural spring-like thrust (Tucker).
AARON. “Even If the Shoe Fits… Forget It.” Marksdailyapple.com. n.d. Web. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/even-if-the-shoe-fits-forget-it/#axzz3CBy1LY6g
Ugi Fitness Inc “Barefoot Training”. Ugifit.com. n.d. Web. 23rd Sep, 2014.
Rooney, Martin. “The Importance of Barefoot Training”. Articles.elitefts. 2010. Web. 23rd Sep, 2014.
Perry, Marc. “Barefoot Training Benefits & Risks With Dr. Emily Splichal”. Builtlean. 2012. Web. 23rd Sep, 2014.
Tucker, Ross. “Barefoot running: An overview of the science”. The guardian 2011. Web. 23rd Sep, 2014.