Oldest discovered leather shoe: 5500 years old
I’ve had a few emails asking me to review some of the literature on the new shoe trend. Every company is jumping on the bandwagon to create their version of the Vibram five TOE shoes (sorry, I’m going to be a hand and wrist sub-specialist. Toes are NOT fingers). It’s a little reminiscent of the “body-toning” shoe thing, without all of the wildly outrageous claims, and a trend that I think will live long enough to warrant weighing in on. Most studies to date have really focused on how the shoes alter foot and gait biomechanics. I would argue that most of the claims on the Vibram website are still largely unsubstantiated or just what I call “motherhood statements”, like: “Eating your greens is good for you,” and “Puting on your jacket when it’s cold outside is good for you.” (basically, statements that don’t really have any clout one way or another, but just make you feel better.)
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Everytime I’m at the gym, I notice the banks of “cardio” machines. In fact, for many consumers, the number and availability of the card machines is the single most important factor in decision making when buying a guy membership (which is why gyms can get away with less-than-optimal weight areas but they can’t get away from sub-par cardio equipment.) In the winter time (in Canada) I can understand how using a cardio-machine can be useful. Personally, I abhor most forms of cardio for the sake of doing cardiovascular work. I’ve been a competitive swimmer, and a competitive rower and we never did cardio just to do cardio. We worked out because we wanted to get faster. That being said, if it’s nice outside and you can run (or bike, or climb stairs, or row), there are a number of very good reasons why you should leave the gym and the endless run/bike/stairclimb to nowhere, but I’m going to focus on the biomechanics and energetics of running/walking.
Treadmill running is very different than overground running. Treadmill _walking_ is very different than overground walking. This has been shown time and time again in numerous biomechanics studies. But when it comes to fat loss and treadmill running or even treadmill intervals (if you’re of the school that cardio, in any of its many forms, including HIIT is important for fat loss), these differences are quite important. To understand some of these differences though, we need to have a language for gait.
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