15 Reasons You Should Start Barefoot Running
Table of Contents
As a follow up to my article on the “25 benefits of barefoot walking” check it out here, I felt it would be the next logical progression to look into some really good reasons why you should start barefoot running. Bear in mind, there are way loads than 15 reason but let’s start with that for the moment.
15 Reasons you should Start Barefoot Running:
- Improves Your Posture
- Reduces Stress
- Stronger Feet
- Reduces Knee And Hip Pain
- Vitamin D From The Sun
- Makes You Feel Happier
- You Get to Spend More Time In Nature
- Helps Burns Body Fat
- An Excellent Progression To Barefoot Walking
- Reduces Inflammation In Your Joints.
- Increases The Feeling Of Proprioception
- Improves Body Balance
- Improves Spatial Awareness
- Improves Eyesight
- Better Sleep
Some of the reasons I will be discussing could be called medical so quick disclaimer: I’m not a doctor so consult your doctor in all instances. I am just a chap who loves all things barefoot and I see the results and do all the research so I can share with you as you begin your journey.
Now we have that out of the way lets get to the bare bones of the article.
15 Reasons You Should Start Barefoot Running In Detail
1.Improves your posture
Running barefoot especially after you have followed the progression I recommended in my barefoot beginner’s guide(check it out here), sets you up perfectly to strengthen and improve your posture.
Running barefoot with correct form necessitates that your core is set up and engaged correctly. Engaging your core is a practice I recommend when walking and running, but even more so when you are running.
The core refers to three main muscle groups: The inner thighs, the pelvic floor and the abdominals.
Getting into a strong upright and forward-leaning position on your run with all these key points of performance in place is the first step. Once you’re set up, gives your body the opportunity to move with the greatest efficiency and ease. A stronger core will have the added effect of improving your posture.
Going for a run reduces stress. Going for a run barefoot or in barefoot shoes reduces stress even more. Most of us make a living these days sitting in a chair in a cubicle somewhere in an office maybe, i could go on. With that comes stress. Going for a run once, you know how barefoot, connects you back to the earth.
If you can find a wooded area or a park with trees or a trail even better. Getting close to nature is a good stress reliever, you should definitely give it a try. I just pick a Loop (route) depending on how much time and have and go for a run when I’m ready.
Top Tip: Grade your loops, I actually have a happy loop that always makes me smile and cheers me up and so on
I find it useful to get your particular set of “loops” as I call them. The loops are routes you map for your Run to add variety to the experience. I actually have A “mega loop” and “normal loop” and a “short loop” that is time and weather dependent to meet my needs. All this is part of the fun and takes away from the stresses of the day.
I especially like this reason because it benefits translates nicely into other areas of my training when I’m back squatting or some other Olympic lift. Barefoot running tones and strengthens your feet and calf muscles. During your run, you engage all of the muscles in your feet, toes and legs which not only create stronger extremities but works to improve your posture too.
Followed by the core as we just spoke about the feet are an important part of the chain that keeps your entire body together in good form. Running barefoot will make your feet stronger. Have a look at my other article on barefoot drills to help make your feet stronger here.
4.Reduces Knee And Hip Pain
Running barefoot with the correct form will increase your range of motion and mobility. The movement associated with running increases your blood flow to your hips and knees and allows your nerves remain in position to reduce the inflammation that causes pain. Barefoot Running will contribute to the overall health of your hips and knees and increase the blood flow which is good for your body’s circulation.
In combination with a routine of good mobility drills stretches, they will help in keeping you inform and reduce inflammation in those areas. Check out the mobility gear section I wrote here
5.Vitamin D From The Sun
Going for a run in the air and the sunshine feels really good you don’t need me to tell you that. There is also another benefit which is as a natural source of D3. As I said earlier we all tend to ear our living out of direct sunlight. Going for a run gives you exposure to the much needed Vitamin D3 which is good for you. 10 -15 Mins exposure to sunlight is more than enough.
6.Makes You Feel Happier
Going for a barefoot run will make you feel happier releasing Endorphins (the happy hormone). There is a lot of evidence to prove that exercise of any kind is generally good for you making you feel happier. I think its all a function also of the stress relieving qualities of going for a barefoot run as I mentioned earlier.
7.You Get to Spend More Time In Nature
Especially in the summer months going for a run in the park can be extremely exhilarating. Having said that, Barefoot running in the winter and in the rain can be just as much fun if you have the right gear. Have a look at t my recommended gear page here. Unfortunately, It can’t be summer all the time or can it?
But going for a run means you get to spend time in nature. That is its own reward.
8.Helps Burns Body Fat
I must preface this will all kind of caveats. For example, it all adds to the combined process of fat burning. Also dependent on the level of intensity of your run and other factors. For instance, a short fast run is not high enough to deplete a large amount of glycogen (the stored form of carbohydrate in muscle).
The distance and duration are also factors in how much you can spin up your metabolism to signal your body that its time to burn fat. If you run consistently enough the cumulative effect could have considerable fat burning benefits.
9.An Excellent Progression From Barefoot Walking
If you have been Barefoot walking for while and you are used to it then maybe its time to give a short run a try. As long as you are comfortable that you have the mechanics right then give it a try. As I always say bite-size chunks of a run so you get used to it and give your body the chance to recover and get over the inevitable soreness.
10.Reduces Inflammation In Your Joints.
Much research has shown that the way we walk and run affects our joint and muscles. Most especially our backups. The correct movement from a barefoot run specifically the fact that you forefoot strike and not heel strike is key in reducing inflammation and joint issues.
Many studies have shown that back pain, knee pain and hip pain can all stem from the way a person walks, and often traditional heeled shoes affect your gait in a negative way.
Running in barefoot shoes can add to the training of your body to run on the balls of your feet thereby reducing some of the pain in your feet legs hips back and neck.
11.Increases The Feeling Of Proprioception
This means you sense of perception of space and time. Proprioception (or kinesthesia) is the sense through which we perceive the position and movement of our body, including our sense of equilibrium and balance, senses that depend on the notion of force.
12.Improves Body Balance
The increased connection to the earth running barefoot allows you to have a better sense of balance. Being in heeled shoes all day does not help with that. This effect is multiplied so much more on a barefoot run where you are forefoot striking and connecting to the earth as your body is designed to do.
13.Improves Spatial Awareness
This is one of my favourite reasons for running barefoot. I get a much-improved sense of everything around me especially if I am running in the park or trail. Your body is forced to switch on and use all of it abilities and senses to navigate the trails. You will move through the paths with deftness and agility as you avoid little hazards on your loop.
As I said before if you have a loop you run regularly you will be amazed at how after a while you can take in all the little elements and beauty on the run.
This is another good one. on you run you begin to notice even the smallest movements, shades and shadows around you. As you look into the horizon on your run you get a sense of seeing everything before it happens. Your eyes are coaxed into giving you a lot more information to make sure you are safe on your run.
Following on from the point of reducing stress, this makes you much more relaxed leading to better sleep. Getting the recommended 8 hours sleep is vital for rest and recovery and general well being.
Running on grass is also a good way to relieve stress and aid in more restful and better sleep.
Recommended Shoes For Barefoot Running
My Person favourites are the Vibram Five fingers closely followed by the Innov8s and the Merrel Range of barefoot shoes. Practically speaking choosing your pair of barefoot shoes is rather subjective. There are some good tips on how to go about it in my other post here.
The key points to bear in mind are the following:
- They should be lightweight
- They should be durable
- Flexible sole
- Provide adequate protection underfoot
- Have little to no heel rise (Zero Drop)
- Easy to keep clean and wash
- look nice ( This is optional of course)
You can head over to my recommended shoe section to have a look at my recommended shoes in much more detail.
We have listed above 15 reasons you should go for a barefoot run. There are much more reasons why you should but for now, we will go with these. I encourage you to have a look at the other articles as they have a lot more details, tips and guides on everything you need to be successful in your barefoot adventures.
Remember preparation is everything and most importantly of all have fun.
What Are The Benefits Of Barefoot Running? Forefoot striking, this makes the arches of your feet act as the natural shock absorbers they are. It improves balance and spatial awareness. Activating all the foot muscles, connections in the ankles, legs, and hips. Then the core activates and pulls together your posture for strength and well being.
Why Barefoot Running Is Good? You get Improved gait from forefoot striking. No more heel striking which generates huge forces on the body. These lead to injuries such as fascia tendonitis and stress fractures. Barefoot runners footstrike and land on the balls of their feet, generating less impact on their bodies when they foot strike.