Barefoot Walking: Minimizing Impact and Maximizing Efficiency
We have been living in a modernized society, so modern in fact that our shoes actually change the physical form of our feet over time into weaker and less practical feet.
I know the title of this post may put you into a dilemma about how to walk barefoot, but walking barefoot we experience multiple benefits that we don’t receive either at all or nearly as much by walking with shoes.
The arch of a western man has been supported for most of its life so it would have gathered little or no strength, the toes would have been bent into the triangular shape of shoes and the Achilles tendon would have fused shut. The only way to get these things in proper working order is by starting use the foot naturally.
Let me brief you with the secret to healthy barefoot/ minimalist walking, if you are like me and most people who grow up wearing shoes with thickly cushioned heels, then you have probably developed this tendency of walking wrong and this secret would be of great help.
How to walk barefoot:-
- Use your heel to gently position your foot landing.
- Roll your foot down into place.
- Only after your entire foot is flat on the ground, apply your weight onto it.
- Make it a habit.
You must be thinking why should I be walking barefoot when I have my shoes? A review published in the Journal of environmental and public health highlighted on how drawing electrons from the earth improve health.
Another study found that earthing changed the electrical activity in the brain, as measured by electroencephalograms.
Walking barefoot also helps in developing and increasing senses and plays a major role in improving the overall posture.
Barefoot walking has benefits:-
- Get more chi
- Clear your mind
- Fight varicose veins
- Free reflexology session
- Going barefoot is grounding
- More ability to spread the toes
- Decrease anxiety and depression
- Strengthens and stretches the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your feet, ankles, and calves
- In improving ability to regulate body’s temperature-Sensing heat and responding with the appropriate physiological response is a skill that needs to be developed or you lose it.
- Reduces chances of developing Neuropathy of feet– Walking barefoot helps me feel something as tiny as a grain of rice under my feet and wants me to kick my feet about the place, making me always aware of my senses.
- Improves overall posture- Our foot muscles are weaker than ever because of shoes and soft surfaces that don’t cause our feet to be flexible and strong like they once were. So barefoot walking helps in it.
- Develop and increase senses- walking barefoot helps us to feel everything beneath our feet and making us more balanced on the ground which in turn helps increasing senses.
- Improves Proprioception.
- Balance electrons and influences the brain- Our bodies are around 70% water and the more grounded we are in nature the more conductive and alive that water is in our entire body. Walking barefoot helps to create an ionic balance within our cells and tissues.
You all runners there must be thinking of barefoot running to add on benefits in your performance but “ Running barefoot is far too stressful for a foot which is newly exposed to the ground but barefoot walking is something we all can do.”
But before running you should learn to walk barefoot as the running puts three times your body weight through your legs and which may cause you to be more prone to injuries very quickly if you don’t have strength in the right place.
Barefoot walking will allow you to reawaken your foot and will increase your proprioception making the postural control and balance work in an effective way.
Recent researches prove the effect of barefoot walking in conditions like Plantar Fascitis and Osteoarthritis improving the proprioception, balance and releasing the Fascia as they walk.
Do’s &Don’t’s of barefoot walking:-
Do: Get hands on with your feet
Do: Focus on your foundation.
Do Scout for safe surfaces.
Do: Become a Barefoot Tourist.
Don’t: Try to do too much at once.
Don’t: Be afraid to land heel first.
Don’t: Be afraid of Germs.
Don’t: Go Bare all at once.
Faculty of Physiotherapy