Athletics is one of the major sports in the world with running being the key event. The major debate relating to running concerns the benefits of running barefoot over running in shoes. Hersher (2010) argues that there is a growing trend of athletes going shoeless and taking on the lifestyle of running barefoot. Quite a number of well known international athletes have effectively completed barefoot. Barefoot running in long distance events is clearly not a hindrance to performance (Montgomery, 2010).
Numerous studies have been conducted to determine the most appropriate mode of dressing during running; this includes running in shoes and barefoot running. Proponents of barefoot running, as indicated by Montgomery (2010), argue that it enhances foot biomechanics and also reduces risk to injury. My concern on the issue of barefoot running increased after realizing that quite a number of runners complete in bare feet during major events. This review is aimed at showing that running barefoot increases performance and reduces the risk of injury.
Benefits of barefoot running Studies, according to Barkoviak (2010), have revealed that people who run barefoot greatly avoid heel-striking and instead land on the mid section of the foot. As a result these runners utilize the architecture of the foot and leg in addition to some physics devised by Isaac Newton to prevent damaging and potentially hurtful effects, which are two to three times equal the body weight, that shod heel-strikers repeatedly undergo through (Warburton, 2001).
Barefoot runners are at an advantage as compared to those who run in shoes, because they subject their feet to minimal damage due to the fact that they hold their feet differently (Hersher, 2010). They land on the midsection or the front of their foot thereby greatly reducing impact collision. People who run in shoes, on the other hand, generate a very high collision impact when they heel-strike. Barefoot runners tend to land with a bouncy step toward the front of the foot.
Barefoot runners also tend to stretch out their toes more at landing; this helps them avoid collision by reducing the effective weight of the foot that suddenly comes to a stop after landing and through a springy leg (McDougall, 2010). A lot of people think that barefoot running is dangerous and hurtful, but in reality an individual can run on the worlds hardest and roughest surfaces without experiencing any discomfort or pain. However heel-striking is painful when running barefoot (McDougall, 2010).
This is because it causes a great collisional force every time a foot lands on the ground. Modern running shoes are designed in such a way as to make heel-striking comfortable and easy. The padded heels, of modern shoes, reduce the force of impact and as a result make heel-striking less punishing. However, people who run in shoes only use a small percentage of their leg muscles. On the contrary, barefoot runners use different muscles of their legs (Warburton, 2001). As a result the strength of their calf and foot muscles is developed rapidly (Warburton, 2001).
Studies, as Barkoviak (2010) asserts, have revealed that damage to the foot muscles is higher in people who run in shoes as compared to those who run barefoot. It has been discovered that chronic damage to bone and connective tissue in the legs are uncommon in developing countries, where people usually run barefoot, as compared to developed countries, where it is rare to find a person running barefoot (McDougall, 2010). Running shoes tends to aggravate the risk of plantar fasciitis in addition to other chronic damage of the lower limb through adjusting the transfer of shock to muscles as well as other supporting structures (Montgomery, 2010).
Montgomery (2010) argues that running in shoes makes the small muscles in the legs to weaken, and the connective tissue and natural arches to stop functioning properly. Shoes insert orthotics as well as extra padding, which results in poor foot biomechanics and increase in the risk of damage to the foot, leg, and the knees (Hersher, 2010). Muscles, tendons, and ligaments of barefoot runners are stronger as compared to those who run in shoes. This strength helps them develop a more natural gait thereby improving the balance of athletes along with helping them stay connected with their environment.
Barefoot running is also economically beneficial, in regards to the energy cost of running, as compared to running in shoes. Research, according to Barkoviak (2010), has shown that increasing the amount of mass on the feet increases the rate of oxygen consumption. Running barefoot is as Warburton (2001) argues, beneficial as it reduces the rate of oxygen consumption thereby enabling athletes to compete effectively. However, as a disadvantage, it is impossible to run barefoot in some weather conditions due to minimal foot protection. Running shoes are very beneficial in extreme weather conditions as they play a protective role.
Conclusion Barefoot running is more beneficial a compared to running in shoes. There is a growing trend of athletes going shoeless and taking on the lifestyle of running barefoot. Proponents of barefoot running argue that it enhances foot biomechanics and also reduces risk to injury. People who run barefoot greatly avoid heel-striking and utilize the whole architecture of the foot and leg thereby enhancing the development of their foot muscles, ligaments and tendons. Damage to bone and connective tissue in the legs is less common in people who run barefoot.
Muscles, tendons, and ligaments of barefoot runners are stronger as compared to those who run in shoes. Running barefoot is beneficial as it reduces the rate of oxygen consumption thereby enabling athletes to compete effectively. Reference: Barkoviak M. , (2010), Study: Running Barefoot Better Than Wearing Running Shoes, Retrieved on May 1, 2010 from http://www. dailytech. com/Study+Running+Barefoot+ Better+Than+Wearing+Running+Shoes/article17535. htm Hersher R. , (2010), Barefoot running easier on feet than running shoes: New research casts
doubts on some major assumptions, retrieved on May 1, 2010 from http://harvardscience. harvard. edu/foundations/articles/barefoot-running-easier-feet-running-shoes McDougall C. , (2010), Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never, ISBN 0307279189: Vintage Books Montgomery B. , (2010), Barefoot Running: Should You Ditch Your Running Shoes and Bare it All? Retrieved on May 1, 2010 from http://walking-runningtraining. suite101. com/article .cfm/barefoot-running Warburton M. , (2001), Barefoot Running, retrieved on May 1, 2010 from http://www. sportsci .org/jour/0103/mw. htm
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