Is Running Barefoot Better Than Running In Shoes?

This sounds good so long as you don’t step on something sharp and rusty.

Western runners, of whom 90 per cent suffer injuries every year, would be better off leaving their sneakers at home, and running barefoot. Science and sceptical runners are catching up with something the Tarahumara Indians have known for ever: your naked feet are fine on their own.

According to a growing body of clinical research, those expensive running shoes you’ve been relying on may be worse than useless: they could be causing the very injuries they’re supposed to prevent.

Out here in the non-Tarahumara world, where we have access to the best in sports medicine, training innovations and footwear, up to 90 per cent of all marathoners are injured every year. The Tarahumara, by contrast, remain spry and healthy deep into old age.

I saw numerous men and women in their seventies loping up steep, cliffside switchbacks on their way to villages 30 miles away. Back in 1994, a Tarahumara man ventured out of the canyons to compete against an elite field of runners at the Leadville Trail Ultramarathon, a 100-mile race through the Rocky Mountains. He wore homemade sandals. He was 55 years old. He won.

So how do the Tarahumara protect their legs from all that pounding? Simple – they don’t. They don’t protect and, most critically, they don’t pound. When the Tarahumara aren’t barefoot, they wear nothing more cushioned than thin, hard sandals fashioned from discarded tire treads and leather thongs. In place of artificial shock absorption, they rely on an ancient running technique that creates a naturally gentle landing.

Unlike the vast majority of modern runners, who come down heavily on their foam-covered heels and roll forward off their toes, the Tarahumara land lightly on their forefeet and bend their knees, as you would if you jumped from a chair. This ingenious, easy-to-learn style could have a profound effect on runners, not to mention the multi-billion dollar running-shoe industry.

Personally, my feet feel constricted when I have to put shoes on. That’s why you’ll find me in a nice pair of sandals most of the time.

Maybe it’s living in a warm climate here in Florida or the fact that I feel more grounded when barefoot. Sure, there’s risks of stubbing toes, cutting feet on things that a shoe would avoid, not to mention keeping them clean. But I’m not saying walk around on hot asphalt in your bare feet either.

I’ve instinctively tried this method of running and found it to be easy on the feet and fast.

Maybe save your money on those expensive running shoes, eh?  Oh, and move to the music at 180 beats per minute 😉

You know, after reading this article, it reminds me of a book on tantric breathing I read years ago.  Proper breathing technique goes hand in hand with your running technique if you want to go the extra mile(s).  The tantric book talked about monks that could run from one village to another non stop – often 50 to 100 miles away and get there in the same day – in part because of the way they breathed.

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Natural Remedy [Cure] for Adjusting to High Altitude

With the Winter season approaching and snow skiing vacations on many people’s list, this is a great time to tell everyone about a most wonderful discovery of a natural treatment for avoiding high altitude sickness. Heck, this is painless adjustment to high altitude in a bottle.

North view of Rio Grande outside Taos, NM

North view of Rio Grande outside Taos, NM

On a recent trip this summer out to Santa Fe and Taos, my friend and I experienced the effects of high altitude on our bodies as we were coming from sea level in Florida which we are accustomed to.

At 6000 to 7000 feet above sea level, I’m told the oxygen levels are about 20% less than at sea level.  Doesn’t sound like much, but it can get to you in the form of shortness of breath, headaches and nausea and worse.

The change in altitude affects the pressure on the kidneys and fluid buildup in the lungs and brain. To make up for the decrease in oxygen, the body needs a few days to acclimate by increasing red blood cells which are your body’s oxygen transporters.

The first day we are hitting the ground running around Santa Fe feeling good.  Gorgeous weather and tons of stuff to see are distracting us from thinking about the change in altitude.  But later in the  day I notice I feel a little winded and my friend is faring much worse. She feels weak and nauseous and has trouble catching a breath.  Concerned, we call a pharmacy to find out we are suffering from altitude sickness and my friend probably needs diuretics.  Not ones for popping pills, we search to see if there are any oxygen bars in town.  We find one but it’s closed.

We consider homeopathic remedies and stop in a Whole Foods market.  After explaining the situation, an employee leads my friend straight to a bottle of green stuff.  I am a little skeptical of this being some sort of miracle elixir, but I figure it can’t hurt.

The product is ChlorOxygen – a chlorophyll concentrate made from stinging nettle put out by Herbs Etc, a local Santa Fe supplement company.  On the packaging, it reads:

  • builds red blood cells
  • increases oxygenation
  • boosts energy levels
  • facilitates high altitude acclimation.

I doubt it’s a placebo effect, but my friend and I can both personally attest that everything the label says is true.

You use it by putting 18-36 drops in a bottle of water and have it once or twice a day.  Being concentrated, it can stain easily and green teeth and tongues can be a bit disconcerting.  “Me HULK… Me Angry!

My friend wastes no time and grabs a bottle of water in the store and mixes up the concoction right there and starts drinking it.  It turns the water a dark green color. As for the taste, they say it has a mild grassy flavor. It also comes in a mint flavored version.

Personally, I like the taste and find it VERY mild… If you’ve ever had a shot of wheat grass, I can tell you this is NOTHING like that.  I find wheat grass hard to drink as it’s soooo strong.  This stuff isn’t.

I am amazed at how quickly it works.  My friend starts feeling a bit better within minutes and before the day is through, she is good to go.  We both end up drinking the stuff the rest of the time we are in New Mexico.  I swear it gives us a nice energy boost too  – and not a harsh ‘wired’ one like mass marketed energy drinks can do.  Along with regular water, it makes it very easy to stay properly hydrated the whole time we are there.

We both like the benefits so much that we even use it daily back in Florida. We share the tip with everyone we meet too.

I have to warn you, we did experience one of the ‘side effects’ too – green poo which smelled like grass fed cow variety.  This seems to go away after you’ve been taking it for a while and your body adjusts to it.

I really like that ChlorOxygen doesn’t require refrigeration and has no icky preservatives. At about $10 for a 1oz bottle [60 18 drop servings], it’s a very cheap solution to solving the problem of altitude sickness.

I like the Mint Flavored version myself – available here: BUY Herbs Etc – ChlorOxygen Mint Flavored – 1 fl oz

HEC-31901-lChlorOxygen, don’t leave for your mountain vacation without it!

**Save $5.00 on your order at www.iHerb.com use code IHE882**