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More Barefoot Running Science

June 08, 2011 By: John Blue Category: Science

If you read this website regularly, you’ll know that while I do like to make fun of barefoot running zealots, I’m actually supportive of some amount of barefoot running.

What I’m nervous about is the lack of solid science about what it’s good for and what it’s not going to help.

Thankfully, in large part due to the enthusiasm engendered by Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run, there is a growing body of science regarding the ins and outs of barefoot versus shod running.

There is also a growing body of medical anecdotes about injury rates and barefoot running zombies who are ready to shout down any nay-sayers. (Of course, there are also anti-barefoot running zealots, too.)

The New York Times Well blog has a nice wrap-up of current science. Here’s the money quote: (more…)

More Good News About Knees

March 31, 2011 By: John Blue Category: Science

Running may protect that knee

As you know by now, I am always happy to write about scientific studies that support my existing bias.

 

Here is more science finding that, regardless of what my mother believes, running is actually beneficial to your knees.

Money quote:

In one study, Swedish researchers found that exercise, including jogging, may even be beneficial. Felson describes how researchers took one group of people at risk of osteoarthritis and had them engage in exercise, including jogging. The other group didn’t exercise. After imaging the joints of the participants in both study groups, they found that the biochemistry of cartilage actually appeared to improve in those participants who were running. Felson says that suggests that “running is actually healthy for the joint.”

(more…)

The Science of Shoe Selection May be not so Sciency.

August 23, 2010 By: John Blue Category: Science

Hopefully, we’ve all had the experience of buying running shoes at a real running store. If you are a new runner, or asking for help, the salesperson will have you stand with your shoes off and look at your feet and advise you about a shoe that will best fit your needs. (The better shoe stores will put you in the shoes and actually watch you run in them.)

In the US Military, the most typical injuries for new recruits are running related. To address this, they decided to evaluate the feet of recruits and supply them with shoes that shoe companies promote for the recruits’ foot shape.

Normally, the story would stop there.  However, this time the Marine Corps decided to actually test the results and see how these recruits fared.  It turns out the results were about the opposite of what the shoe companies would have liked. The New York Times reports: (more…)

First it was Barefoot Running. Now it’s the “Toning Shoes.”

July 23, 2010 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Science

Is there a footwear fad that American can’t get behind?  A couple of months ago, I started seeing them everywhere: those funny sneakers with the rounded bottoms.  They were otherwise normal looking people wearing some really odd looking shoes. Even Chuck Norris was getting into the act, hawking these shoes on television. (Okay.  Maybe Chuck’s not the best example of “normal” but bear with me here.)

Like so many fitness fads that have come before, the reports of danger come following after.  The Boston Globe reports:

A study released Wednesday by the nonprofit American Council on Exercise found that toning shoes failed to live up to promises made by manufacturers. “Toning shoes appear to promise a quick-and-easy fitness solution, which we realize people are always looking for,’’ Cedric X. Bryant, the council’s chief science officer, said in the report. “Unfortunately, these shoes do not deliver the fitness or muscle toning benefits they claim. Our findings demonstrate that toning shoes are not the magic solution consumers were hoping they would be, and simply do not offer any benefits that people cannot reap through walking, running, or exercising in traditional athletic shoes.’’

(more…)

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