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Vibram and Minimalist Running Shoes Require Extreme Caution

I was out running one morning about two years ago. It was a rare morning where I didn’t have music pumping in my ears. As I was approaching a turn, I began to hear an odd rhythm. It almost sounded like duck feet smacking the ground. As I got closer, I saw another runner coming towards me. The sound was coming from her shoes. She was wearing what looked like gloves on her feet as she trekked along. This was the first time I’d ever seen anyone run in the Vibram Fivefinger shoes. Flash forward two years and these shoes and the minimalist movement have grown tremendously popular. However, as with most popular things, it’s not all necessarily a good thing. There’s quite a bit of controversy over these shoes and the proper role they play in the sport of running.

There’s lots of debate over the safety of minimalist running and barefoot running. There are also a lot of grey areas in the subject. While some shoes are minimal in the support they offer, they are not equivalent to a barefoot or even a Vibram. However, all members of the pro party tend to support the general theory that the stronger the foot, the better the runner will run.
Vibrams (pronounced “VEE-Brims”) claim that they allow the runner to land on their forefoot which results in optimum balance, improved stability, lighter impact, and increased propulsion. The Vibrams also claim to help correct form problems along with strengthening and stimulating muscles in the feet and lower legs.

So with such positive claims what’s the objection to this product? First Gear running shoe store owner, Gary Gregory, sees the Vibrams as a form of barefoot running and explained why he will not carry the product.
“Barefoot running is too radical of an idea from the norm, it’s too big of a departure and too big of a change for people who have been running in shoes for years.”

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5 Common and Painful Running Mistakes You May be Making

Running isn’t easy. At times it hurts. When the pain is more than the typical sore muscles and fatigue, there’s a problem. Thankfully there are answers. More often than not, the problems stem from the runner and not the activity itself.

I’ve had my share of pains through out my running career and thankfully I’ve had the help of a physical therapist to work through them and find their cause.

Like so many other therapists, assistant professor of physical therapy and director of the running clinic at Washington University in St. Louis, Gregory Holtzman, is helping runners overcome the technique problems that may be hurting them. In an article from MSNBC, we learned that Holtzman evaluates and records runners in his clinic to pin-point the issues that they are struggling with. He finds that there are five common issues that runners are diagnosed with in relation to their struggles.

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Picking the Perfect Pair of Shoes for Zumba

Zumba Wear Gym Shoes on, $108.99

Zumba is taking over the world. It’s cheap, fun, easy and you don’t need much to join in on the Latin dance fitness craze except your body, whatever sense of rhythm you have, and the right shoes.

You don’t need those fancy high heels you may be picturing, however. Your regular gym shoes are just fine, but if you really want proper Zumba foot attire, there are a few things you should consider when picking out a new pair of kicks.

There are three basic elements to look at when purchasing any type of shoe: shock absorption, ankle support, and material and sole flexibility. Well, four, cause they have to look good, too, but that’s a given. These three elements become even more important when looking for shoes for a specific activity, which today is a kick-butt Zumba class.

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Living Like a Caveman in New York City

Professional CavemanProfessional caveman John Durant makes a pretty convincing argument for eating like hunter-gathers. “Anybody with a lot of inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, they would do very well on the paleo diet. Anybody overweight, I mean, name your medical problem–I feel like a snake oil salesman.” Cure-all or not, it doesn’t hurt that Durant himself is outgoing, energetic and fit, a kind of walking advertisement for his lifestyle. He is the author of the blog, and is writing a book with the working title Live Wild: A Survival Guide to the Modern World.

The basic idea behind the paleolithic diet, also known as the caveman diet, is that humans are best adapted to eat and live like hunter-gatherers before the time of the agricultural revolution. “If you look at these hunter-gatherer cultures, in reports that date back to the 19th century and early 20th century, they’re actually remarkably healthy,” says Durant. Followers of the paleo lifestyle argue that the agricultural revolution led to a marked decline in health, in part due to less diverse sources of nutrients. “Our diet became very narrow, very quickly. We went from eating a wide variety of animal foods and plant foods driven by seasonal eating, to a very narrow set of foods.”

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The Pros and Cons of Barefoot Running Shoes

January is the prime time for fitness fads as people resolve to get in better shape and lose weight for the year ahead.  The latest fad for runners?  Barefoot running, a fitness style that lets your body adapt to your natural gait instead of conforming to your running shoes.

Barefoot running shoes have been gaining popularity in recent months, as they are designed to re-create a the natural sensation of running “barefoot” on man-made surfaces like concrete and asphalt.

The Pros:

Robert A. Kornfeld, Founder of the Institute for Integrative Podiatric Medicine, wrote for the Huffington Post that barefoot running shoe manufacturers believe that “the human foot, unimpeded by synthetic surfaces and restrictive running shoes, should function at its best.”

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