Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Shoo the shoe away!

Only running is not sufficient anymore! There’s more you have to do to make up for what you made technology do for you!

In this day and age, there are two contrary styles of living that people choose from. While one goads one to mindlessly immerse oneself in the material world, the other involves abhorring (at least pretending to) whatever technology has to offer and thus, ‘go back to the basics’. There is a growing list of lifestyle fads that lean towards the latter style, and the latest one involves going a step backwards in evolution and re-training your feet (almost genetically) to run barefoot!

A latest research, which must surely be disappointing for the ‘running shoe’ makers, says running barefoot improves performance and brings out primal running mechanics in athletes. The advocates of barefoot running blame shoes as the origin of most foot-related injuries. In fact, author of the book Take Off Your Shoes and Walk, Simon J. Wikler D.S.C., reveals that renaissance marked the beginning of foot-related problems and the modern-day foot disabilities are all a result of elevated heels and the pointed toes of present-day footwear. In fact, the author has been heard saying, “Most adults’ foot troubles would either not exist or would be much less bothersome if properly-shaped shoes had been worn during childhood or, better yet, if those people had gone barefoot.” Even a study had found that children who were allowed to go barefoot often had ‘less deformed toes, greater flexor strength, more ability to spread the toes, denser muscles on the bottom of the feet and greater agility than those who had never gone barefoot.’

Of course, it goes without saying that all these benefits would fetch us a healthier life in the long run.For those who want to get acquainted with barefoot running, here are some tricks. (The rest just wait for a better bait in the latter half of the article!) First, to run barefoot, one must run on the forefoot without heel-striking. Secondly, let the body land first. One must land directly under it. The knees should never be straightened fully, either in front or behind the body. And lastly, go slow in your pursuit of barefoot athletics! It can be more damaging than beneficial if you aim to run like the South African athlete Zola Budd (who always trained and raced barefooted!) in just a week or a month!

Well, those who can’t imagine letting go of a surface between their foot and the ground, could try out shoes that are made using the Masai Barefoot Technology. As the name suggests, the technology used has been derived after noticing the gait, stamina and strong legs of the Masai tribals (one of the tribes that has also inspired the barefoot trend). Though many of them still walk barefoot, it is ironical that even most of the Masai have designed footwear made from tyres to provide the bare minimum comfort and yet stay almost barefoot! In fact, Nike Free technology seems to have been inspired by such minimum comfort formula…

Some ancient philosophies suggest that the life-force energy called Chi (also called Prana) is absorbed through the soles of our feet. That’s one edge that no pair of shoes can match. Well for that, if not the sole of our foot, what about energy transaction through the soul? Doesn’t that fit the bill of the uber ‘going back to the basic’ style statement even more?
For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source :
IIPM Editorial, 2009

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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