Barefoot Is Better

first_imgWho do we wear shoes?  It seems obvious; we expect that they help us avoid injuries and provide comfort.  Maybe we should think of the injuries we are getting by wearing them.    The image of the barefoot person is usually of someone poor, deprived, lower-class, hick, unclean, redneck or something else unattractive.  Shoes are a big business.  Within that business, running shoes have become part status symbol, part science.  Those images might change if a study by Daniel Lieberman at Harvard is taken seriously.  PhysOrg summarized his paper in Nature in which he analyzed the physics of runners with and without shoes.  Barefoot runners, he found, strike the ground differently.  Their feet absorb the shock of impact by landing more on the arch and ball of the foot than on the heel.  Shod runners tend to be heel-strikers.  “Most shod runners — more than 75 percent of Americans — heel-strike, experiencing a very large and sudden collision force about 1,000 times per mile run,” the article explained.  That shock travels up into the ankle, shin and legs.  “People who run barefoot, however, tend to land with a springy step towards the middle or front of the foot.”  This gives them a “more compliant, or springy, leg.”  The impact of the heel strike is reduced in good running shoes.  Still, it could lead to repetitive stress injuries.    Lieberman put his runners into an evolutionary landscape, but could not avoid using design terms:The differences between shod and unshod running have evolutionary underpinnings.  For example, says Lieberman, our early Australopith ancestors had less developed arches in their feet.  Homo sapiens, by contrast, has evolved a strong, large arch that we use as a spring when running.    “Our feet were made in part for running,” Lieberman says.  But as he and his co-authors write in Nature: “Humans have engaged in endurance running for millions of years, but the modern running shoe was not invented until the 1970s.  For most of human evolutionary history, runners were either barefoot or wore minimal footwear such as sandals or moccasins with smaller heels and little cushioning.”Lieberman warned that a runner wanting to switch to barefoot running has to ease into it.  It takes a little time to get used to it, but it could be healthy.  “By landing on the middle or front of the foot, barefoot runners have almost no impact collision, much less than most shod runners generate when they heel-strike.  Most people today think barefoot running is dangerous and hurts, but actually you can run barefoot on the world’s hardest surfaces without the slightest discomfort and pain,” he said.  “All you need is a few calluses to avoid roughing up the skin of the foot.  Further, it might be less injurious than the way some people run in shoes.”  He encouraged more research into the health benefits of barefoot running.  For those interested in comparing the two modes, Lieberman and his colleagues have set up a barefoot running website.Most of us are so accustomed to walking in shoes we could not imagine walking around barefoot a good deal of the time, except at the beach or around the pool, but there are a few who prefer it; they amaze the rest of us with how nimbly and painlessly they scamper about on uneven ground, rocks, and all kinds of terrain.  You might be inspired by this story to try easing into some barefoot running, or at least kicking off the shoes a little more often around the house, if your family members will let you.  You may only regret it when stubbing your toe on a chair.  This experiment is also not advised for desert hikers or snow.  When you think about it, though, most cultures throughout history have done pretty well without heavy shoes.    We didn’t need Lieberman’s little evolutionary fairy tale to make this an interesting story.  “Once upon a time, Lucy told her children to grow arches in their feet, and millions of yeas later, they obeyed.”  Nothing in his findings constitutes evidence for evolution; he just assumed it, and weaved a flat-footed tale around it.  Regardless, his work on human endurance running (11/18/2004) remains one of the most interesting “human body” stories we have reported here.    Why must this evidence be forced into evolution?  The real scientific work was all measurement and analysis of design on living runners.  That design involves many integrated systems (circulatory, respiratory, muscular, skeletal, thermoregulatory, endocrine, and more) that could not have evolved in a stepwise manner, if you’ll pardon the pun.  Those who prefer creation explanations will notice that the foot is very well designed for our upright stance, just as ape feet are well designed for their lifestyles partly on the ground and in the trees.  Adam and Eve came complete with all their physical needs (this was, of course, before thorns).  It doesn’t mean that shopping malls with their dozens of shoe stores are unnatural; human creativity and inventiveness is also evidence of our design.  But we should distinguish between needs and desires.  Perhaps some of our inventions are not as good as the original plan.  Will there be barefoot Olympics again some day?(Visited 16 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Tshepo10K: inspiring South African youth with skills

first_img11 November 2015The City of Tshwane, along with a number of stakeholders and partners including Absa, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and the University of Pretoria, wants to continue to train, up skill and inspire more of the city’s young people to be willing and able enough to start up their own businesses in order to combat a sluggish local economy.The city’s Tshepo10K, launched in 2013 and aimed at providing skills training and employment opportunities to 10 000 of the city’s youth, has begun to bear fruit.Sam Makhura, @CityTshwane Supply Chain Performance Specialist shares his experiences working with #Tshepo10k pic.twitter.com/gymv9EggyI— City News Tshwane (@TshwaneHerald) November 6, 2015At a presentation on 6 November 2015, the first top performing Tshepo10K beneficiaries and their stories were highlighted to media, invited guests and the public.In his keynote address, Tshwane Executive Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa thanked the stakeholders involved in the project and congratulated the young people on their achievements. He assured them the city would support them as they went forward.Thanks to the following stakeholders for supporting #Tshepo10K initiative; @Tukkies, @Absa, @NYDARSA and GEP— City of Tshwane (@CityTshwane) November 6, 2015Today @MayorOfTshwane acknowledges, recognizes & pays special tribute #Tshepo10k, an initiative he launched in 2013 pic.twitter.com/KukKhG0XrG— Tinyiko L Mokgobi (@lolomokgobi) November 6, 2015Tembeka Mhlekwa, Tshwane’s head of economic development, who also spoke at the event, said she was happy with the progress of the project so far, and hoped that it would be a prime example for other municipalities on how to tackle youth unemployment.Head of Economic Development #TembekaMhlekwa thanks @lolomokgobi for supporting #Tshepo10k and developing its logo pic.twitter.com/ShlUs3XPjr— Subesh Pillay (@SubeshPillay) November 6, 2015The multimillion-rand project includes a collaboration with the University of Pretoria to train unemployed young people with a number of rigorous and intensive business management courses.These offer them the chance to learn practical and necessary skills and expertise to start businesses that grow and succeed. The training includes learning how to use that business to successfully tender for government procurement contracts.After training, the candidates then form business co-operatives and are placed in internships in the city’s various utility departments, such as electricity and energy, water and sanitation, roads and transport, housing and human settlements, and environmental management. More than 190 co-operatives have already been established through the project. These businesses operate across the Tshwane municipality and bring much-needed services to residents.Jointed five Co-operative from Hammanskraal at #Tshepo10K Top Achievers Event pic.twitter.com/c2GkT2ZW4d— City of Tshwane (@CityTshwane) November 6, 2015Lesedi T Ten K Co-operativeLebogang Maanga, one of the first through the programme, is the chairperson of the Lesedi T Ten K Co-operative, owned together with four partners.Maanga received a grant to set up the co-operative from the NYDA and used it to fund the office equipment for the business. “We named our co-operative Lesedi because we saw light at the end of the tunnel. The project has provided us with administrative skills such as how to quote for our services,” she said.The key milestones for their co-operative, Maanga explained at the event, included sending out letters of demand on behalf of the city, providing cleaning services at Rosslyn electricity depot, repairing street lights in Soshanguve, and erecting soccer pitches around the city.The journey wasn’t easy but each step was worth it – Tembeka Mhlekwa #Tshepo10K top 100 achievers ceremony pic.twitter.com/gBVEkArl37— Tinyiko L Mokgobi (@lolomokgobi) November 6, 2015“(The co-operative has) created 64 jobs,” said Maanga, but she acknowledged that the journey had not been easy. “At times we faced financial challenges but through hard work, determination, sleepless nights and continuous support from the city, we were able to get here.”The Lesedi team is now able to live fruitful and productive lives, while using their business acumen to improve the lives of others in their community.Speaking about Lesedi’s future and the success of Tshepo10K, Maanga said they were “determined to work harder, and not only focus on quantity but also ensure that the service and goods we provide is of high quality”. They plan to grow the business and involve more unemployed youth.Eco Factory Co-operativeEco Factory, in the Ga-Rankuwa industrial park, produces low-cost school desks, helping the Department of Basic Education to address the needs of schools and supply quality school desks to poor schools across the country.The desks are made in South Africa from the wood of invasive alien trees cleared by previously unemployed workers. Eco Factory’s David Makobe said Tshepo10K had helped him understand business and procurement processes, a skill he never had before.Hlabollo Primary Co-operativeAnother beneficiary, Lucky Malatji of Hlabollo Primary Co-operative, works in the housing sector. He said that thanks to skills learned with Tshepo10K, the co- operative was awarded a project for ready-mix concrete valued at R200 000 as well as a storm water maintenance project valued at R400 000. The group employed 30 previously unemployed youths.Funding, though, is one of main challenges to the survival of the co-operatives, and Tshepo10K urges more interaction with the private sector to help make these small initiatives work better.“There has been resistance from buyers to utilise Tshepo co-operatives. But recently they have started warming up to us,” said one co-operative member.MMC @SubeshPillay explains how Tshwane’s #Tshepo10k work. pic.twitter.com/ZMAbP8c3wk— Tendai Joe (@Tendaijoe) November 6, 2015Youth were a key element in Tshwane Vision 2055, said the member of the Tshwane mayoral committee for economic development, Subesh Pillay. “The city believes its young residents will be the flag bearers and reap the benefits of the city in the future.”Proceedings ended with a song for the Tshepo10K project, written and performed by one of its beneficiaries who hoped to inspire the next group of young people to take hold of their future.#Tshepo10k theme song. Beautiful pic.twitter.com/zlT1JvOd1D— City News Tshwane (@TshwaneHerald) November 6, 2015Source: South African Government News Websitelast_img read more

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