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Boosting Your Workout's Effectiveness by Selecting the Right Typ

Whilst walking barefoot across a Korean rice field, Karl Muller - a Swiss engineer - noticed that his back pain, a constant problem for him, had improved significantly. He conducted a little research and found that the Masai tribesmen of Africa are famous for their excellent posture and do not seem to suffer from back pain at all.

Muller concluded that walking in bare feet on a soft, yielding surface was significantly better for your back and joints than walking on a hard surface. He decided to design a footwear range that would mimic the effect of walking on a soft surface such as grass or sand.

Muller eventually came up with the Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT) footwear range. According to the company website, this is so different to normal shoes that it needs to be thought of as the "anti-shoe".

MBT shoes incorporate a specially designed curved sole with no heel, which promotes a rolling action when your foot comes into contact with the ground. It's very similar to walking on sand in your bare feet as a matter of fact. Using materials of differing densities also helps to lower impact and jarring shock.

Independent scientific studies have verified that this is genuinely better for your back and joints. There are other proven benefits apart from improved posture. For example, whilst walking normally wearing MBT shoes, the wearer's muscles will be active for longer (when compared to walking in conventional shoes). The muscles are in use for approximately 16% longer. Wearers also tend to take slightly shorter strides. Both these effects increase the level of work performed.

The result of this is that each step you take whilst wearing MBT shoes is giving you extra exercise. It's a workout for your lower body while you walk. In addition to helping to reduce back pain and improving posture, MBT shoes can also help to tone up your legs and trim your buttocks.

You would imagine that would be sufficient wouldn't you? Despite all these benefits some people find MBT shoes a little chunky and not very aesthetically pleasing. MBTs do cost more than normal shoes (but the benefits may make the increased cost worth it). Fortunately there are now alternative offerings available which utilise the same basic design and are more cosmetically attractive. Both Skechers Shape Ups and Fitflops have similar curved soles which are specially engineered to increase the muscle activity duration and tone your legs and buttocks whilst engaged in normal, everyday walking activity.

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