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The natural state of running

In its most pure form, running relies on all body parts working in concert, starting with the bare foot.

The body naturally knows how to use the foot for shock absorption, leverage and propulsion. Watch a young child run – a natural free gait, joyous movement, using his body as a spring to push forward with each step.

However, as we age, many of us lose that natural free form of running. Into that void has stepped a multi-billion dollar industry marketing running shoes with extensive stability and cushioning, trying to “fix” the way we run.

Thicker is not better

In the past few years, running shoe manufacturers have pushed runners towards a more max-cushioned shoe. But a thicker or more cushioned shoe does not mean your foot is hitting the ground more softly.

A recent study in Scientific Reportssuggests that running in highly cushioned shoes might actually lead to a stiffer gait and greater impact when your foot hits the ground, and result in a higher level of injury.

Conflicting studies

Every year, there are new studies looking at whether one type of shoe could prevent injuries more than another one. Regardless of the hundreds of studies on this topic, there is no concrete evidence that one type of shoe reduces the chance of injury.

Back to basics

As you return to running outdoors this spring, take some time to ease into it. Transition towards a more natural state gradually and learn to use the natural absorption of your body. Like any transition done too quickly, injury is bound to happen.

Let’s get back to basics, one step at a time.

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Source : Running in highly cushioned shoes increases leg stiffness and amplifies impact loading. Juha-Pekka Kulmala, Jukka Kosonen, Jussi Nurminen& Janne Avela, Scientific Reports, November 2018.

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