Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Can Running in Minimalist Shoes Strengthen Your Feet and Legs?"

Pete digs down into the study I posted the other day, and finds some really interesting answers:

"The scientists took 100 individuals, split them into two equally sized groups, and had them perform a series of exercises on a weekly basis in either Nike Free shoes or a conventional running shoe (for a duration of 6 months). The exercises included running, aerobics, skipping, and a variety of other things. They were also allowed to wear the shoes in everyday life if they so chose. They took a variety of measurements before the initiation of the study, including toe flexor strength (toe flexion is downward bending of the toes), range of motion of the 1st metatarsophalangeal joint (i.e., the joint at the base of the big toe/hallux), and the active path of motion of the same joint. They also took a subset of 25 individuals assigned to wear the Nike Frees and took MRI’s of the lower leg and foot to obtain information about muscle cross-sectional area (think of this as muscle belly size for simplicty’s sake)."

Of course this isn't news to minimalist runners (any more than it's news to Pete) as what they found here is what we all experience.  But it's pretty fascinating nevertheless.