What kind of connection am I going to make between barefoot hunting, the nuchal ligament (isn’t everyone familiar with the nuchal ligament?) and the way your heel strikes when walking? Here you go—back in 2004 before I even started the walking program I was struck by an article in the New York Times that covered the work of two scientists and discoveries they had made about the nuchal ligament while running pigs on a treadmill.
Fast forward a number of years and one of these gents, Harvard Professor David Lieberman, showed up in one of my favorite books of the last few years –Born to Run – discussing just how human beings evolved to run. Well, last week there was another interview with Dr Lieberman in the times which I was going to post but I went and found this video instead. It is an interesting video that covers two of my favorite topics—the aforementioned, how we evolved to run and why it is natural to run by landing on the front of the foot avoiding a hard heel strike.
According to Professor Lieberman humans evolved to run in order to hunt. Among the reasons why this was an effective technique is humans sweat through their pores which allows us to run for great distances and for greater distances than animals that sweat through their tongues. If a human wants to wear out a four legged animal that sweats or pants through its tongue it just needs to keep running and sweating through its pores until the animal it chases will basically give out and collapse.
In studying and conceptualizing these barefoot hunters, he and his partners realized that back in the day these hunters were obviously running down this large game barefoot and they began studying the footfall in barefoot runners, focusing on how the forefoot naturally touches the ground first before the heel strike.
Enjoy the video, it has a lot of great info. While I run on my forefoot I still walk on my heels. But one of the main pieces of information I am giving my clients is that while walking definitely involves a heel strike, most of us are spending way too much time on our heels before we move to the forefoot. Pay attention to how you walk today and pay attention to the heel strike.