Due to the book, “Born to Run,” and the large amounts of people who want to run injury free, the barefoot running trend has surged in the last 14 months. While some people have been swearing by it for years (one man claims to have run over 20 marathons completely barefoot), others have turned to it as a way to get rid of nagging aches and pains they are afraid could derail their running career. There is another subset of people who are curious about the benefits of barefoot running, but scared of things on the ground (i.e. glass) that could harm the foot.
Enter the Vibram Five Fingers. This “shoe” is basically a glove for your foot. There is a very thin layer of rubber on the bottom, so the foot feels protected, and your toes are spread out. I purchased my first pair one week ago. The box warns you to break your foot in slowly (after all, the foot is used to be squished into a shoe, with the toes all scrunched up together), and, if you are running in them, to work up your mileage in a gradual fashion. My first day wearing them, I lasted about 4 hours. My little toe became tired, and I was acutely aware of the muscles on the outside of my foot that I hadn’t been relying on. The second day, I lasted a full 8 hours, but even then, my feet were noticeably fatigued. By the third day, my feet felt fantastic. The toes had adjusted to being spread out, and the foot pain that had been plaguing me for the last 6 months was gone. Now, weather or not that will continue remains to be seen. I did run a mile in them at the local track, and my right calf was ridiculously sore, as was the outside of my right ankle. I will try it again in a couple of days, and see if I can build up to my regular mileage (about 6 miles per run) without any injuries. While I realize there is no such thing as a cure all, and what works for me might not work for the next person, but I do encourage staying open minded to people who are using them. Shoot, you might even want to try a pair yourself. The only problem is, you might not want to take them off. To learn more about them, please visit www.vibramfivefingers.com/.
A study done in Germany followed 390 women who were participating in one of two diets designed for weight loss. One group was given a shopping list and a meal plan to follow. The other group was assigned point values for each food and told only to eat a certain number of points each day (to read the full study, please click here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/hsn/20100120/hl_hsn/complexweightlossplanserodedietersresolve). The group with the less complex plan (the ones given the shopping list) were more likely to stick with it than the group who had to figure out how many points they had eaten. (I found this interesting since this is the premise of Weight Watchers). I have read time and time again that if you eat the same thing every day you are less likely to gain weight than if you are constantly changing when and what you are eating. Another point worth mentioning is diets rarely last in the long term. Eating habits need to be changed for like if you want any lasting effect on your health.
Yours in health and wellness,