So what’s all the hype about Vibram FiveFingers? I’ve started seeing them at the gym, on the trails, and even strolling around town on a Sunday afternoon.The makers say they are like going barefoot. But I thought my mother told me never to go barefoot?Running without shoes can strengthen the foot, ankle, and leg.This is not a new idea. Not only has man been running around barefoot for centuries, but he’s been doing so rather quickly. Tribal runners around the world have long since been running barefoot. We’ve even seen a few Olympic athletes run this way during competition. But is this the way all of us should hit the pavement?Research tells us a few things. It is thought by many, if not all in the know, that the excessive cushioning provided by some shoe technology weakens the foot and leg muscles. Hence we have Birkenstock and other shoes, which encourage the natural gripping and work of the foot.Researchers have also noticed that among those who run barefoot, the foot strikes in the mid or forefoot. The cushion of our running shoes, shaped like a wedge, forces a change in the way we strike the ground.Without the wedge, the mid- or forefoot naturally make contact before the heel. The arch is strengthened by this motion. And when the forefoot or mid-foot strike first, the likelihood of injury is far less as is the impact to the joints.Even more interesting to me was the fact that running with a forefoot strike actually uses about 5 percent less energy than running with a heel strike. That’s like never paying the tax on your purchases again, or having your energy bill reduced by $5,000 over a lifetime. When we run barefoot, we also consume (or need) less oxygen.Simply put, we are more efficient.It would seem that all signs are nudging us to run barefoot, or close to it. So why was the ultra cushioned running shoe created? We have become accustomed to shoes, namely to keep our feet protected. Protection developed into correction, but now it seems we are correcting the very problems we tried to avoid. Did we simply let this get out of hand? Reversing this process can take time and practice. So if and when you decide to try running barefoot (or with FiveFingers—gravel and glass don’t feel good during your morning run), do so carefully and gradually. Just as you would start slowly when training for a marathon if you’d never run before; ease into your Five Fingers. Your foot, body, and mind will need some time to adjust—be patient and your feet will keep you going the distance.
Topics : National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia announced it expects its financial performance would be adversely affected by the global COVID-19 outbreak as it cancels more flights because countries around the world are struggling to limit the movement of people to contain the virus.The airline has been forced to cut flights to and from China and reduce the number to several other destinations, such as Singapore and Hong Kong.On Thursday, Garuda’s top executive said the airline was forced to halt even more after the Saudi government imposed a temporary ban on all umrah (minor haj) by foreigners because of the spread of the pneumonia-like illness. The COVID-19 outbreak, which according to Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering has infected more than 83,500 people worldwide and killed more than 2,800 as of Friday, has prompted several countries to impose travel bans or warnings in an effort to contain it.Indonesia’s tourism industry is expected to be hit hard as Chinese tourists were the second largest group of foreign visitors to the country last year.The government announced on Tuesday a stimulus package worth Rp 10.3 trillion ($742 million) to boost consumer spending and boost the tourism industry. Of that amount, about Rp 298.5 billion is to be channeled into incentives for airlines and travel agents to attract foreigners to Indonesia and another Rp 443.39 billion into discounts for domestic tourists visiting various attractions.“Hopefully, this one shall pass quickly, so we can recover fast,” Irfan said. Garuda Indonesia has stopped a total of 40 weekly flights from and to China and suspended its Denpasar-Hong Kong route, operating flights to and from Hong Kong from Jakarta. It has also reduced the frequency of flights between Jakarta and Singapore from 10 per day to only three. To cope up with the situation, Garuda wants to open new routes to replace the temporarily closed ones, such as by linking Denpasar with Brisbane, New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.Garuda is not alone. Several international airlines, such as British Airways, American Airlines, AirAsia and Cathay Pacific, have also suspended or reduced flights because of travel bans and falling demand. “This would potentially hit Garuda’s financial report this year,” Binaartha Sekuritas analyst Nafan Aji said on Thursday. “At times like this, government stimulus for the tourism and aviation sectors is very important to boost the industries and keep them surviving.” He expected the airline to implement strategic measures, such as cost efficiency and revenue maximization from other potential flights or new routes, to survive this situation. “It is inevitable that the [COVID-19] coronavirus outbreak would affect our revenue significantly,” Garuda president director Irfan Setiaputra told a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday. The Saudi travel ban has worsened the situation, he added, since the airline operated four daily flights to Mecca with wide-body aircraft. “However, we have yet to calculate the exact amount of the loss,” he said.Garuda Indonesia’s stocks, traded with the code GIAA on the Indonesia Stock Exchange, dropped by 5.63 percent following the statement. The stocks went further down by another 8.2 percent on Friday afternoon even as the bourse’s main gauge, the Jakarta Composite Index, plunged 3.47 percent.The airline booked US$122.8 million in profits from January to September last year as its revenues jumped by 10 percent annually to $3.54 billion. Its total liabilities were worth $3.5 billion as of September, a slight increase from the $3.4 billion in the corresponding period of 2018.