10 Benefits of Walking Barefoot
The summer is the perfect time to kick off your shoes and walk barefoot! Here are 10 reasons why you should leave your shoes by the door and head outside in your bare feet!
Reason #1 Greater Strength and Balance
When your feet are always in shoes, you are not using all of your muscles and they start to atrophy. Walking barefoot strengthens and stretches the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your feet. This helps improve balance, and prevents injury, knee strain, and back problems.
Reason #2 Improves Sleep Patterns
Barefooting regularly can give your body an opportunity to calibrate its physiological rhythms with the Earth’s, which can help improve sleep.
Reason #3 Healthier Feet
Our feet weren’t made for shoes. Our toes can’t spread properly, they over-sweat, they rub and get sore, and they’re squeezed and pushed in ways that just don’t feel good! Walking barefoot allows the muscular and skeletal system to be used in ways that nature intended.
Reason #4 Fewer Foot Conditions
As the feet strengthen by going barefoot (see Reason #1), plantar fasciitis diminishes, foot neuromas go away, bunions begin to dissipate, and other conditions, such as hammertoes, go away. Even the arthritic foot begins to slowly heal as it develops greater strength, flexibility, and blood flow.
Reason #5 Better Circulation
Going barefoot gets more blood flowing to the feet and legs. This increased blood flow means fewer aches and pains, and warmer feet in winter.
Reason #6 Improved Posture
Traditional shoes put our bodies in a pronounced pelvic tilt. Even the typical running or walking shoe has a heel of 1-2 inches. To keep from falling over, we’re forced to get our butts back and bend forward at the waist, straining our hamstrings, low back, upper back, shoulders, and neck. By getting out of shoes and feeling the ground, the nerve endings on the bottoms of our feet tell us that we’re leaning or tilting forward. Our posture can then improve.
Reason #7 Healthier Kids
The American Podiatric Medical Association now recommends keeping kids out of shoes for as long as possible because they know shoes weaken and deform feet. Keep them out of shoes and kids stay healthy. In addition, the act of feeling the ground strengthens their senses and helps re-map the brain.
Reason #8 Decrease Blood Pressure
Studies show that when we go barefoot we stimulate the nerve endings on the bottoms of the feet. This decreases blood pressure and the fight or flight response of the body.
Reason #9 Reduce Inflammation
Grounding or Earthing is the process of walking, standing, or even sitting barefoot on the ground. Studies have shown that free radicals, the cause of inflammation, are positively charged. If they are not drained, they build up in our bodies and cause inflammation and cell/tissue damage. The Earth naturally carries a huge negative charge. Direct contact with the ground allows us to discharge free radicals.
Reason #10 Reflexology Benefits
By walking barefoot, the reflexes located on the bottoms of your feet are stimulated which has a positive effect by decreasing inflammation and pain, decreasing blood pressure, reducing stress and tension, and stimulating many other healing processes of the body.