Happy Feet // Why Going Barefoot Is So Good for You

barefoot

How can going barefoot be so good for you? In this post I’m going to show you several reasons why you may want to consider this.

Our feet are the furthest part of our body from our head and often gets overlooked and forgotten. We know our hearts need lots of TLC, well our feet do too. After all, they take the weight of our bodies, they take about 5,000 steps a day. (That’s 2.5 miles!)

barefoot

In addition, we cram them into shoes and stand on them for long periods of time. Those hard-working feet deserve a little more attention than you’re probably giving them. Perhaps the only time you take your shoes off is to go to bed. They need a break.

Did you know there are more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the human foot? Whoa!

barefoot

Did you know there are more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the human foot? Whoa!

From the beginning, when a toddler is learning to walk, it’s suggested that parents let this process happen naturally, and without shoes. That’s because shoes can affect how a child uses the muscles and bones in their feet.

Here are some Benefits of going barefoot.

1- Improves our gate (natural walking pattern)

The most straightforward benefit to barefoot walking is that it improves our “gate”. better control of your foot position when it strikes the ground

2- Improvements balance, proprioception, and body awareness

3- Better foot mechanics

This will help with improved mechanics of the hips, knees, and core, therefore, helping with pain relief.

In my tutorial on How to Use a Tennis Ball to Relieve and Prevent Pain, you’ll find a ton of information AND learn these very simple exercises to improve your overall health. All the equipment you’ll need is a simple tennis ball.

barefoot Foot Myofascial Release

My senior yoga students love the ball work. I have seen a major improvement in many of my student’s backs, feet, and even shoulder and knee pain.

4- Improves range of motion in your foot and ankle joints

It also improves strength and stability within your muscles and ligaments. Here are some tips and exercises to help strengthen your feet.

5- Will give relief from improperly fitting shoes

Wearing improperly fitting shoes may cause bunions, hammertoes, or other foot deformities. Some of us think that the cushier the shoes the better they are for our feet. This only weakens the muscles in our feet and calves.

 

Some cultures hardly ever or never wear shoes. In this book, BORN TO RUN, they talk about the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico and they run wearing very simple flat sandals and some even barefoot, and VERY healthy feet from doing so. Everyone I know who has read it, says it is life-changing.

Your feet need space, especially in the toe area. I love my Ultra Escalante Running shoes! They have a wide toe area and my hips don’t hurt when I play pickleball.

barefoot

How does going barefoot outside benefit you

Walking barefoot in natural surroundings brings you in contact with the earth. This transfers the earth’s electrons into your body, inducing therapeutic effects.

These include reduced inflammation, stress, and pain and improved mood and sleep.

Although grounding or earthing may sound “woo woo,” there is actually some scientific evidence to suggest that many of the claimed benefits of walking barefoot on grass may indeed be grounded in truth.

 

For example, research has shown that connecting with the ground barefoot can cause nearly instantaneous changes in the body, that in turn can reduce pain, reduce muscle soreness, decrease stress, and improve sleep.

Benefits of walking barefoot on the grass or natural earth:

Walking barefoot on grass can help regulate the nervous system. Grounding is said to help activate the vagus nerve, the largest nerve in the autonomic nervous system.


The more I find out about the vagus nerve, the more fascinated I become and the importance of keeping it healthy and functioning well.

This massive nerve extends from the brain to the colon.The vagus plays a key role in heart, lung, and digestive functions and is said to help reduce inflammation.

How do you properly walk and exercise barefoot?

Before you ditch your shoes in favor of a more natural approach to walking and exercise, there are a few things to consider.

  • Start slow. You need to be patient and start with short 15- to 20-minute sessions of walking barefoot.

As your feet get used to walking without shoes, you can increase the distance and time.

  • Ease up if you feel any new pain or discomfort. While walking barefoot sounds like the perfect option, there are dangers that should be considered.

Without appropriate strength in your feet, you are at risk of having poor mechanics of walking, thereby increasing your risk for injury.

This is especially important to consider if you are beginning to incorporate barefoot walking after spending much of your life in shoes.

  • Try it out indoors. Before you hit the pavement running, it might be a good idea to let your bare feet get used to the safe surfaces in your house.

  • Practice on safe surfaces. Once you’ve mastered the indoors, try walking on outside surfaces that are less dangerous, such as turf, rubber tracks, sandy beaches, and grass.

  • Consider using a minimalist shoe. While your feet are adjusting to less structure and padding from your shoes, you may want to consider using a minimalist shoe, like the Altra’s before going completely barefoot.
  • Experiment with balance exercises. It is recommended that you start with some simple balance exercises like standing on one foot or pressing yourself up onto your toes and lowering down slowly.
  •  
  • Try an activity that requires you to be barefoot. Take advantage of activities that are already performed barefoot, like yoga, Pilates, or martial arts.
barefoot

I hope you found this information helpful and that you’ll start kicking your shoes off and start enjoying the benefits of going barefoot.

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest

Connect:

No comment yet, add your voice below!


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

Recommended Posts