Barefoot Running and Health Freedom

I was not quite sure how to tie in barefoot running with freedom, except that I am trapped by an accident I had as a teenager. I had a motorcycle accident which has left me with lingering problems on one leg. I can function well enough except that strenuous walking and, especially, running starts to cause discomfort. I would like to run. I used to love running. But, I am trapped by a leg that will not tolerate it for very long.

Back in 2010, I experimented with running. Barefoot running is less traumatic on my hip, which begins to hurt when running with shoes. At the time, we were living in an apartment with more or less clean sidewalks. Running barefoot was not quite so hazardous. The only problem I had was that my toes would get abraded. So, that had to stop.

I have tried running with sandals; but, they are too loose on uneven ground. This causes one to slip off the sandals and twist ankles.

The area where I now live has a lot of sand burrs, which makes each barefoot run potentially unpleasant. Suffice it to say, the constant damage to my feet has kept me from consistently running.

I am a few years older now from those original experiments. It is becoming more difficult to keep off the extra pounds. I do not see that I have much choice than to make a real effort at running again within my limitations.

I have purchased some Vibram Five Finger shoes so that I can once again begin running. They cost more than I would typically spend on shoes; but, these are more than typical shoes. They are certainly cheaper than medication for cholesterol and diabetes.

The Vibrams should protect my toes from abrasion and the rest of my feet from sand burrs and other pointy things. More importantly, because they are the closest thing to barefoot running, they would protect my hip from the trauma of running. In the long run, they would help me protect myself from a sedentary life style.

So, how does this all relate to freedom?

When you are healthy and fit you enjoy the following freedoms:

  • Freedom from medications for preventable conditions
  • Freedom to choose clothes that flatter rather than clothes that conceal
  • Freedom to endure long days rather than feel wiped out by dinner time
  • Freedom to stoop down to pick something up without a belly interfering
  • Freedom from injuries caused by disuse of muscles
  • Freedom to have that extra piece of pie because you can burn it off
  • Freedom from hindsight that I could have run and should have run

There is more work that I need to physically do to be healthy, such as strength training and increasing flexibility. I suspect that part of the reason I am gaining weight is because I have lost muscle and continued to eat as if I had it. I am also starting to feel restricted in range of motion for lack of flexibility.

The vision I have of myself, physically, as an older man is merely to be an older man without ailments or lack of stamina. I do not mind going gray and the need for reading glasses. I can even deal with a few wrinkles. What concerns me most is not being able to move around and do things.

Mrs. Mata and I are planning on a trip to Europe. She wants to immerse herself in history while there. I want to do the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. In order to walk an 800 km trail, it makes sense that I should be in decent physical condition.

Growing older concerns me in that there may be things that I may no longer be able to do. What worries me more is that I should reach that age and not be able to do some of the things I could have done when I was younger.

In retrospect, perhaps the freedom I seek is freedom from regret.