Researchers enrolled 72 participants and split them into two groups – one would run barefoot at their own pace for 16 minutes, and the other group would run in shoes. Both groups had their working memory tested before and after the run.
The results were startling – the group who ran with nothing between their feet and the ground increased their working memory by a whopping 16 percent from the baseline, while those with shoes on found no increase whatsoever.
According to Dr Ross Alloway, one of the lead authors of the study, this is because barefoot running provides your brain with incredibly more 'feedback', warming it up for the later memory test.
"The little things often have the greatest impact. This research shows us that we can realise our cognitive potential and enjoy ourselves at the same time," says Alloway.”If we take off our shoes and go for a run, we can finish smarter than when we started."
The experiment is the first in the world to demonstrate that running barefoot leads to better mental performance compared to running in shoes.
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