|Lily patiently waiting to run with her blue balloon|
|Lily playing soccer at playground after a romp in the sandbox, barefoot of course.|
10. Kids are natural born runners. They love to run and move, let them do it the way they want to
9. Less boo-boos. They will barely trip barefooting -- but when they are in thick soled shoes -- they seem to trip a lot more.
8. Builds up their natural foot strength.
7. It encourages them to listen to their bodies.
6. They pay much closer attention to their environment and where they step.
5. Think of all the money you will save on fancy footwear!
4. Barefoot on the playground makes them more coordinated and improves balance. (If you don't believe this -- try doing tree pose in sneakers).
3. Helps stave off obesity and all the ills that go along with it.
2. You have a live-in running partner.
1. Joy -- Next time you are in the park, watch a child run around without shoes. No pain, no HRM, no watch, that is true happiness.
|Lily dashing down Park Avenue during NYC Summer Streets on Aug 7th.|
Lily's natural curious ways and questioning eventually made me realize how wise it would be to allow her to run barefoot. You see, I was injured almost every competitive season of my life due to simple sloppy running form. My heavy heel striking led to chronic shin splints and stress fractures. Little did I know that my "supportive" shoes and orthotics were actually my problem. It wasn't until after I returned to serious running after Aurora's birth that I realized I needed to change something. I needed to ditch the shoes!
Lily's scientific questioning made me realize that the best thing I can do for her is to NOT interfere in the process of her developing her natural running form. Her body is teaching her how to be a runner better than I ever could.
|Lily testing her feet on the bridle path. "Mommy, the little rocks don't hurt anymore!"|
The great thing about kids (especially young ones) is that they have no choice but to put all of their energy into everything they do, and when they are spent, they literally cannot make themselves go any further. So we really don't have to worry about overuse injuries.
The best advice I can give is to listen to your child, no matter their age, and support them in their quest to learn more about the world around them.