Or a Brit. Or a Minnesotan. Or, if you’re really cool: a Masai
In addition to their ability to jump like they’re on a pogo stick, minus the stick, the Masai are famous for their ability to walk and run long distances with significantly less overuse injuries than the rest of us. 60% less knee injuries
, according to one study. Genetically gifted? Probably. But they have another secret – besides drinking cow’s blood which according to Wiki they don’t really do anymore but still think it makes a fun story to tell tourists, when the truth is they are far too poor to afford to kill their cows and therefore eat a diet of primarily maize like most other 3rd world countries – they walk barefoot.
I’ve mentioned before the benefits of walking without shoes
but I’ve never put my money where my mouth is on this one. I thought about trying to do kick boxing or running on the track in bare feet but there is a strong possibility I’d get in trouble for that and, also, a strong possibility of athlete’s foot or plantar warts. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Y but just like I wouldn’t sit on the bike seats sans undies
, I don’t walk around sans shoes.
I suppose nobody is stopping me from going barefoot in the great outdoors but here’s where my confession comes in: I’m a huge pain wuss. This was reinforced to me the other night when I had the immense privelege of helping my friend birth her third child (and by “helping” I mean sitting in her hospital room playing yahtzee and occasionally remembering to ask her if she’s okay). She was just laying in bed, not moving or talking and so I assumed she was asleep. The nurse came in to check her and mentioned, “Wow, you’ve been having some big contractions!” Checking her cervix (seriously, the worst part of being in labor – there should be a rule that the number of hands involved in getting the baby out should not be more than double the number of hands involved in getting the baby in), the nurse announced my friend was dilated to a 7 and 100% effaced. Girlfriend was so silent that the Scientologists wanted to come take notes. Were that me, there would have been screaming, cursing and death threats. Heaven help you if you are in the vicinity when I “transition.” I literally think I’m dying every single time (and you’d think after doing it four times I’d remember but no) and make sure everyone around me appreciates that fact.
Like I said, HUGE pain wuss.
Which means that even tip-toeing barefoot over the woodchips in my front yard to get to my mailbox yields yelps and squeals. The Masai would leave me for dead somewhere between Kenya and Tanzania (see – I did do some research for this!). Although according to, well, everybody, if I walked barefoot long enough then my feet would eventually get used to it. Just like the old man in Seattle whom we watched daily do the same circuit up and down the boardwalk with a quick dip in the waves, wearing nothing but the same pair of high-waisted women’s ’80s shorty shorts no matter what the weather. Really, who doesn’t want to be a crazy old man?
So how does one conduct a barefoot experiment in shoes? Up until now, I thought it was impossible. But there are other people as wussy as I am (or perhaps just socially responsible) . The people at MBT
make what they call the “anti- shoe.” It’s supposed to mimick walking barefoot, Masai style, but with really big shoes on your feet to protect and accessorize your tootsies. In addition, they also are supposed to tighten and activate all kinds of muscles. Hmmm… think they do thighs? Once I got over the conscience pang of realizing that a pair of these shoes could probably buy a Masai villiage a cow, it has been a fond dream of mine to try them out.
Our own MizFit is currently running her own MBT
experiment, courtesy of a thoughtful birthday gift from her man. If you are interested in trying them out then September is your month. MBT has christened September the month of walking. Check out their 30 Reasons to Walk
page that not only has some cool ideas on how to shake up your walking but also lists events all over the country where you can get your walk on and try out some “anti-shoes” and other cool products.
Opinions? Any of you try these out? Are they worth the money? Would you ever drink cow’s blood? Walk barefoot on woodchips? Go through labor without screaming? I already know plenty about where you would pee