This blog was written by Mechelle Meadows. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.
Finding ways to incorporate current trends, or at least educating yourself and clients about them, is key to keeping your corporate wellness programming fresh. So if you haven't experienced the recent barefoot running movement, here's what you and your corporate fitness clients need to know.
Although barefoot running has existed for quite some time, the movement has reemerged in the past couple years. Rather than advertise any special shoe or apparel to enhance your runs, barefoot running followers suggest ditching the shoes completely to run with newfound freedom and a better connection to the ground than before.
Now the first thought running through the mind of your corporate fitness center members is probably along the lines of “Wouldn’t that hurt my feet if I happened to step directly on a rock or hard surface?” Podiatrist Stephen Pribut, DPM (quoted in this article), would agree, saying, “Most of my patients aren’t world-class runners. It wouldn’t make sense for them to risk getting twigs and glass in their feet.”
However, the same article points out that when you are wearing socks and tennis shoes, the body loses some of its proprioceptive awareness. Without the motion-control or stability features of a good running shoe, the foot and leg muscles have to work harder to react to surfaces. From my research over the past year, there is a general lack of strong evidence that wearing shoes is much better for the runner’s stride or biomechanics.
From an injury and liability standpoint, barefoot running is not something corporate health and wellness programs should incorporate onsite. Most fitness centers should hold policies of wearing tennis shoes at all times on equipment. If your runners are dying to try the trend for themselves, suggest they do it on their own time, offsite, on ground that appears to be safe.
Do any of your corporate fitness center members believe in barefoot running?