Barefoot Shoes or Minimalist Footwear

Barefoot Shoes or Minimalist Footwear

Two-thirds of runners experience an injury every year. Humans have evolved to run, so some scientists blame running shoes for the high injury rate. Most runners strike heel first when using heavily padded running shoes. Barefoot runners strike the ground with their forefoot (at least they’re supposed to), which better uses the shock absorbing capacity of the skeleton. Some researchers speculate that using “minimalist” footwear allows people to run more naturally, which should cut down on the injury rate. Other research suggests that traditional running shoes provide a physiological advantage that makes running easier. We need more research to determine whether barefoot running is safe and viable or just the latest running fad.

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TIPS FOR TODAY AND THE FUTURE

Regular, moderate exercise, even in short bouts spread through the day, can improve cardiorespiratory fitness.

RIGHT NOW YOU CAN

Assess your cardiorespiratory fitness by using one of the methods discussed in this chapter and in Lab 3.1.

Do a short bout of endurance exercise, such as 10-15 minutes of walking, jogging, or cycling.

If you have physical activity planned for later in the day, drink some fluids now to make sure you are fully hydrated for your workout.

Consider the exercise equipment, including shoes, you currently have on hand. If you need new equipment, start researching your options to get the best equipment you can afford.

IN THE FUTURE YOU CAN

Graduate to a different, more challenging fitness assessment as your cardiorespiratory fitness improves.

Vary the exercises in your cardiorespiratory endurance training to keep yourself challenged and motivated.

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