New Delhi: If running is your thing, you may want to throw away those pricey sports shoes and just do it barefoot, according to a study. Why don’t you give it a shot and feel the difference. Three-quarters of runners who wear shoes land squarely on their heels – about 1,000 times for every mile run. But even well-cushioned sports shoes that help distribute weight across the foot cannot fully absorb the shock of these blows: 30 to 75 per cent of regular runners each year suffer repetitive stress injuries.
Running unshod or in so-called "minimal shoes" requires the use of different muscle groups. "If you`ve been a heel-striker all your life, you have to transition slowly to build strength in calf and foot muscles," Lieberman said. The study, published in the British science journal Nature , also bolsters evidence suggesting the human foot evolved for rapid upright motion, said William Lungers, a professor at Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York. "Bipedalism" – walking on two feet – "has been around for millions of years, and we have been unshod for more than 99 per cent of that time," he wrote in a commentary, also in Nature. A radical reshaping of the foot about two million years ago, including shorter toes and a fully-arched foot, probably occurred to enhance our ability to move quickly over sustained periods. "Our endurance running abilities may have evolved to enable our ancestors to engage in `persistence hunting`," the ability, in other words, to run down one`s prey, he said. Bureau Report
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