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To Minimalist or Not To Minimalist?

Posted Oct 04 2012 3:25am

Todays post is not about de-junking or living better without more, today is actually about running and those funky looking toe shoe things, NOOO!!! don't turn off because I said running (or toe shoes).

I used to HATE running, i found it grueling and hard on my body. I had bad knees from playing netball (An Australian sport played on hard hard asphalt)  In fact a Dr told me at 12 that if I didn't stop playing netball I would need to have a knee replacement within a couple of years. So running was never on my radar.

UNTIL my husband discovered a book called Born To Run.  He bought himself some minimalist shoes and started running. What, my husband is running now and it's not on a treadmill???

So I decided I had to listen to this book, I listened to it while I rode the stationary bike (which mostly bores me to death).  I listened to it while I walked, I listened to it in the bath, you get the picture.  It was a really good book.

Not one to be bested I got myself a pair of minimalist shoes and started, gasp, running!  One thing about minimalist shoes is you have to learn how to run in them the correct way, otherwise you will hurt yourself, and you have to break them in.  My thighs, calves and butt hurt for at least a month and I was just running for short bursts.

So What is Minimalist/Barefoot Running and why wear shoes that aren't as thick as mud?
  • Barefoot shoes help you align your body better by becoming more in contact with the ground you are walking/running/hiking on.

Basically those casts we have been wearing on our feet have weakened our foot and leg muscles. They have no flexibility and actually cause more damage to our joints.
  • It works muscles in your feet, legs and butt that normal running shoes don't.
 This means stronger muscles, my butt has never been so tight :)!

  • They Improve your balance !

By standing straighter and feeling the ground underneath you and strengthening your muscles your balance improves greatly.
  • The running part means lower impact, my knees have been great since I started running in minimalist shoes. 

  • You land mid foot. NO heal striking - heal striking will kill your knees and other joints.

  • You should be standing up straight with your shoulders slightly back and relaxed.

  • Your knees should keep a slight bend in them (also lowering the impact)

  • Your stride should be shorter which is actually more efficient.

Have you seen those funky toe shoes?  Good news you don't have to wear those.  My favorite minimalist brand is Merrell, I love there glove and I also have their super cute Mary Janes that I get around in on a daily basis.

Oh and did I mention since I started running (and eating better) I have lost 27 pounds!!        I feel fitter and stronger, I have definition in my legs.   Not too shabby.

Before Running (In all fairness I am sitting and slouching but you get the picture)

After Running

So if you have thought about running or even just getting a tight butt :),  grab a copy of Born to Run (Christopher McDougall) or take a look at the Merrell Barefoot site and then go for it, get out there.  Oh and a frugal tip -  check for last years styles at half the price :).
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