Back in the day, humans chased their food down by foot as opposed to fighting off soccer mums and dads at the local big box store. They ran over the river and through the woods, and they were less prone to injury.
Photo by dotbenjamin
According to The New York Times, studies show us that early hunters, who depended on their feet to outrun their dinner, weren't as accident prone as we are today. Sure they didn't have pesky things like stop lights or traffic to slow them up, but long runs perforated with periods of walking (in no shoes at all) is what kept them safe.
Running on only artificial surfaces and in high-tech shoes can change the biomechanics of running, increasing the risks of injury. What's the solution? Slower, easier training over a long period would most likely help; so would brief walk breaks, which mimic the behaviour of the persistence hunter.
Unlike most animals, our bodies are meant to run long distances. We're engineered from top to bottom to run as much as our hearts desire. Our downfall is where we choose to do our running and the intensity in which we run. More and more people with regimented workout routines are turning to indoor gyms or home equipment. Even though a few laps on a track or treadmill will keep your heart rate up, they aren't the best way to prevent injury (even with new fancy shoes).
Try running shorter distances outside and take frequent walking breaks to mix things up. Streets and footpaths are OK, but running hills at your local park would be even better, and if the weather allows, try a few runs barefoot to take things one step further.
Hit up The Times for more information regarding the science behind why we should be running a little more like our forebearers. Would you give up your running shoes and treadmill for the great outdoors? Share your thoughts in the comments.
The Human Body Is Built for Distance [The New York Times]