Running Barefoot

New years found me on a beachfront in the morning. Typically, I travel with my running gear, but various reasons found me without this time. Not one to be daunted, I decided to try running barefoot on the beach. I had heard of the many joys of running on a beach and also of running barefoot. Let me circle back to my own experience shortly.

Studies conducted on running barefoot have shown that the contact time on the ground is reduced. Also while your stride length is reduced, the frequency of your steps, also known as cadence (steps per minute) increases. An increase in cadence meant you were covering more ground in the same time. The study also showed that the activation of your muscles increased running barefoot which helped in the strengthening of your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Furthermore, by eliminating the lifting of the heel (all women who wear heeled shoes pay heed) running barefoot allowed you to develop a more natural gait. Finally, since the toes of your feet were no longer bound, they could spread more extensively giving you a more balanced stride.

In ancient times, runners in Greece ran for days either barefoot or with nothing but flat sandals. Many of us in urban cities have to worry about dogs, filthy roads, rocks, or trash. Often, these are the reasons that compel you to wear sneakers. On this bring sunny morning, I found myself on a clear sandy beach without any of my regular worries. I ended up clocking my fastest mile. My record did not even take into account the considerable time I spent renewing my earthing. For those who are unfamiliar, earthing helps your body absorb antioxidants which removes free radicals in your body. If I had access to sandy beaches, I doubt I would ever run in shoes ever again.


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.

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