A Lower Body Workout And Less Back Pain - Just By Wearing Different Shoes?

By Fiona Saunders

Swiss engineer, Karl Muller, was walking barefoot through a Korean rice field when he noticed that his back pain - something he suffered with - was quite a bit better. Intrigued, he carried out a little research and discovered that Africa's Masai tribesmen are well known for their good posture and do not suffer from back pain.

Muller deduced that walking barefoot on a yielding surface was much better for both your back and joints than walking on a firm surface. He resolved to develop footwear that would replicate the effect of walking on a soft surface such as sand or grass.

What he finally came up with was the Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT) range of footwear. It is, according to the company website, so different to standard footwear that it deserves the title of "anti-shoe".

MBT shoes incorporate a specially developed curved sole without a heel, which produces a rolling action when your foot makes contact with the ground. It's just like walking on sand in your bare feet in fact. The use of materials of different densities also contributes to the effect by further lowering jarring and impact shock.

Independent scientific studies have verified that this is genuinely better for your back and joints. There are further proven benefits in addition to better posture. For instance, whilst engaged in normal walking in MBT shoes, the wearer's muscles will be in use for longer (in comparison with similar walking in traditional shoes). The muscles are in use for approximately 16% longer. Wearers also tend to take slightly shorter strides. Both these effects raise the amount of work done.

The result is that every single step you take whilst wearing MBT shoes provides you with additional exercise. It's like getting a lower body workout just by walking around normally. So, in addition to improving posture and reducing back pain, MBT footwear can also help to trim your buttocks and tone your legs.

You might think that that would be enough. In spite of all these benefits, some people find MBT shoes to be a bit chunky and less than pleasing to the eye. They also cost a little more than standard shoes - although you might be more than happy to pay a little extra if you suffer with back pain of course. Luckily, there are now other options available which work along the same lines and which are more pleasing to the eye. Both Fitflops and Skechers Shape Ups use similar curved soles which promote increased muscular activity and help to trim and tone both legs and buttocks whilst engaged in nothing more exhausting than normal walking activity.

Whichever footwear you select, the possibility of reducing back and joint pain whilst simultaneously trimming and toning your lower body - all whilst engaged in nothing more strenuous than normal daily walking - seems very attractive. - 32188

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