Minimalist Running Shoes Improves Balance in Elderly


Minimalist running shoes or barefoot-
inspired running shoes are a great health asset for all ages especially
elderly runners because the lack of compressible, squishy, soft materials and
the flatness and reduced heel-height of most barefoot-like running shoes or
minimalist running shoes may allow for a more stable, secure landing capacity in
elderly runners and at the same time barefoot-inspired running shoes really
help reinforce the feet and ankles to continually self-strengthen thereby
potentially reducing the risk of falling evidently our proprioceptive acuity
which means our body’s positional sensory awareness monitoring system or
in other words the awareness of how our body parts are moving through space
which is heavily involved in balanced control tends to decline and deteriorate
with age resulting in global balance control that may be vulnerable, less
responsive and less reactive and therefore more compromised with age
however to provide more ongoing support for optimal proprioceptive or body
position awareness and to maintain more clear postural sense into older age
minimalist running shoes or going barefoot more often which is even better
may streamline essential and vital stabilizing sensory stimulation on the
bottoms of the feet that may greatly enhance self-awareness of body position
and limb postural alignment which collectively are very practical
components for better landing stability during running and walking especially on
uneven surfaces. The thinness and the lack of cushioning and not to mention
the loud and crystal-clear ground-feel of wearing barefoot-inspired running
shoes or going barefoot may give the best, strongest, positive feedback that
may enable the reinforcement of more foundational safer, sturdy, balanced
biomechanical outputs which is of enormous importance because since
sensory and motor performance as well as reflexive actions may they decline with
age you may be less reflexively quick and
less sharp and thus less likely to catch yourself from falling. This assertion is
concerning since falls in the elderly are often the
result of poor dynamic balance control and slowed sluggish reflexes which could
make running and walking on uneven surfaces very destabilizing. One thing I
really want you to remember is underfoot padding may strongly influence, in a
potentially negative way, may affect limb movement control and stability, reflex
responsiveness as well as upper body positional awareness which may have
implications to a loss of balance control during running and walking. Thick
cushioned running shoes especially those with an elevated heel, like most
traditional running shoes, may be an unpleasant potentially destabilizing
foot-ground surface for any runner especially elderly runners with
compromised balance control as the elevated heel along with the thick
compressible materials may impair landing judgment especially when running
on uneven surfaces with surface irregularities because such footwear
acts as a sensory barrier that makes ground-feel a little fuzzy. Also remember
the research on the health and performance benefits of cushioned heeled
stiff motion control stability running shoes aren’t exactly glowing with
positive results because most traditional running shoes which are
thickly padded may cause distressing mechanical habits, like heel striking and
over striding during running, these potentially inefficient mechanical
habits which are a direct result of an adequate ground-feel. They cause you to
depart away from landing safely with less impact on the knee-joint.
For instance reports in the Journal Aging, which I linked below in the
description box, the researchers found that falls and elderly individuals were
mostly attributed to perceptual errors in landing judgment
especially on uneven surfaces and we know that poor perceptual awareness is a
defining characteristic of low sensory input feeding through the
further cementing the idea that if there was greater or a larger surge of
sensory input flowing through the foot may have allowed better movement
stability with the legs and feet essentially this piece of data may imply
that because perceptual errors was the underlying cause of most falls in
elderly individuals may indicate that there could be a poor sense or an
inaccurate mental representation of spatial awareness of the ground, causing
footstep to be misplaced. Such negative interactions is often probed by poor
foggy ground-feel at the feet. When there’s a lack of clarity of the ground
this may produce troublesome destabilizing perceptual errors or poor
sensory judgment of the foot with the ground which may greatly encourage
falling. For a more practical and sensible preventive action in enforcing
more balanced, stable foot-ground interactions during running and walking
you might want to wear a shoe that isn’t clunky, that doesn’t catch obstacles, that
gives good toe clearance, so you don’t trip over something or trip over your
own feet and most importantly you want to wear a shoe that amplifies and
enhances foot placement awareness so that reflexively and perceptually or
consciously you are more likely to choose a more safer, sturdy landing
strategy during running and walking that’s why the primary focus for any
runner at any age should remain on wearing natural, more barefoot-like
footwear for both running and walking as a potential sensory guidepost to help
prevent spatial awareness deterioration with age since attaining better, clearer
ground-feel with the feet reflects a boost in nerve activity along the
pathways in the nervous system which helps make balance control more steady,
sustainable, more engaged, more reinforced and from this you may be more likely to
reengage better balanced control from the ground up thereby potentially
preventing trips and falls as you may have less trouble in making accurate
landing judgments. I must underscore that the more you are
barefoot, doing so may dramatically improved global muscle and
reflexive memory as stimulating the nerves in the bottom of the feet via
barefooting, the foot nerves hyper- communicate, they fire more rapidly and
efficiently with the nerves in the ankle joint and the knee joint and to the
spinal cord and to the motor cortex in the brain. It’s this type of nerve
awakening that actually creates stronger alliances between groups of nerve cells
essential to balance, movement control and mechanical efficiency. It’s important to
remember that every nerve cell is connected by links and when groups of
nerve cells are more active at the same time, as the nerves in the feet and the
nerves in the joints are when you were a barefoot, these links or communication
connections grow stronger together and are able to store more muscle memory,
thus by wearing less on your feet, you are actually developing stronger, more
responsive, more communicative nerve cell communication highways that mediate,
govern and reinforce better balanced control during both barefoot running and
walking. This is how wearing less on your feet is certainly an important
complement, an important step to develop a stronger balanced capacity, especially
in elderly individuals, and may also help firm up good biomechanics that may be
more easily sustainable when walking or running on uneven surfaces. This is also
why elderly runners who struggle with injury should entertain the thought of
switching to minimalist running and of course adopting a more barefoot
lifestyle as doing so may put them in a better position to diligently monitor
their foot-ground interactions with better perceptual quality and from this
may develop a better sense of landing control of the foot that is more sensory
lead when barefoot and you will be in a better position to deploy fall-proof
mechanics. For more information on barefoot versus shod running please
subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thank you so much for listening and watching.
Have fun out there on the roads and trails. bye for now!

One Comment

  • I've had several strokes and use a walking stick/cane because of balance. I've been thinking about trying minimalist shoes. Any brands you suggest? Vibrums? Swiss FYF socks? Others?

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