Saturday, December 10, 2011

Barefoot running: Good or bad?

In a study published in the scientific journal Nature last year, Daniel Lieberman, an evolutionary biology professor at Harvard University, sought to find out how our ancestors coped with the impact of the foot hitting the ground. Lieberman and colleagues from Britain and Kenya studied runners who ran with or without shoes. They found barefoot endurance runners often landed on the fore-foot before bringing down the heel, while shod runners mostly had a rear-foot strike. The authors concluded this change was prompted by the raised and cushioned heels of modern running shoes. Furher analysis indicated barefoot runners generated less impact with forefoot strike than rear-foot strikers in shoes. The former also had a springier step and used calf and foot muscles more efficiently. Researchers were clear however the evidence did not suggest barefoot running suffered less injuries (sic To the best of my knowledge the gate cycle is different from normal walking to sprinting with the latter having emphasis on ball contact rather than heel contact)

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