For the first 50 years of my running life, I confess, I probably viewed my feet as kind of a shock-absorbing stump on the bottom of my legs. Big
enough to keep me from falling into holes and ditches, perhaps. And a solid
appendage to strap my Nikes onto. But that was about it.
However, as I have mentioned here in many occasions, I have
found the practice of running barefoot or in my Vibram FiveFingers
has a ton of benefits. I think it helps prevent injuries, improve my stamina
and speed and generally make running so much more enjoyable. And natural.
I have found another important benefit, however, in the way
my feet have responded to the new challenge of barefoot or minimalist running. Some
- I see muscles I never knew I had. When I curl my
toes, I see tiny little muscles on the top of each toe, stretching back into my
foot. How cool is that?
- My toes appear to curl differently, almost
grasping, as if curling to get a better hold on a surface (or a tree limb, for
those inclined to view things Darwinistically).
- My ability to balance on one leg is much better.
In the last year or so, I’ve surprised myself, not only by putting on a pair of
pants standing up. But also by putting on slippers, socks or even shoes
standing up. Without leaning against anything. How many 64 year olds can say
- My feet look healthier and thinner. Like they
did when I was a teenager. How many people over 40 have something nasty going
on with their feet? And hope that if they cover it with their shoes, it won’t
catch up with them?
- Finally, I have fewer foot injuries. Other than
the occasional bruise that comes from stepping on the stray acorn or walnut in
the park where I run, my feet feel better than they ever have in my
half-century running career. Probably goes for my legs as well.
Labels: barefoot running, benefits of running, running, running and aging, running and health, running the spiritual path