The next time you go shopping, you just might wanna take “Shoes” off your list, as going barefoot has well become the newest trend. Why? “Cause it just feels better,” you’ll probably hear the trendsetters say, and that’s enough motivation for them to go back to the way their ancestors were as long as footwear is concerned.
But if you need more than just a “feeling”, but actual proof on how it actually helps, read on as we unravel the various benefits of walking without shoes.
The Benefits Going Barefoot- Why it Feels so Good?
Remember the time you were standing barefoot on the beach and felt like you could stand there all day? Or the time you visited a place of worship, and it felt so really good to start walking around barefoot after leaving your footwear outside. Here’s why-
- As good as it might feel to stretch other parts of your body, it feels equally good to stretch your toes – as you switch from one foot to another, your toes get stretched. This is a luxury that’s denied to you when you put on footwear, as the base of your feet land and lift off the ground, not really allowing your toes much movement.
2. It flexes every little muscle, tendon and ligament in your feet and ankle – when you opt to wear shoes, you’re allowing your feet to be imprisoned in a box, therefore permitting it minimal movement, or no movement at all. Therefore, most of the muscles are just idle and aren’t even used. To get more scientific about it, read “Barefoot vs common footwear: A systematic review of the kinematic, kinetic and muscle activity differences during walking”
3. Touches all the reflex points in your feet – these points are the spots where application of appropriate pressure has a beneficial effect on different body organs. If you’re a barefooter, you have much better chances of activating these reflex points than what you could possibly have when wearing footwear.
4. Believe me, it keeps heart disorders away – when your foot comes in direct contact with the ground, you RBCs accumulate a better surface charge, which lessens viscosity among blood cells. As viscosity is directly proportional to the chance of getting a heart attack, walking without shoes comes a long way in protecting the most vital organ of your body.
5. It actually earths your body – you’d probably remember the term ‘earthing’ from a physics class back in high school. This is also applicable to human bodies. Earth being negatively charged, passes electrons through the human body. These negatively charged ions in turn detoxify you, calm you, and also strike the right hormonal and physiological balance in your body. They also control the internal clock structure of your body.
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How will Walking Barefoot Impact Your Day-to-Day Life?
Because of all the above reasons, bare feet walking tends to have a ton of positive impacts that could make you live a much happier life. Here’s a list of the primary effects of walking barefoot:
- It dramatically reduces your stress levels
- It clears and freshens your mind
- Reduces cancer risks
- It works like a charm when used to cure insomnia
- Lowers anxiety and depression considerably
- Reduces inflammation
Where and When Can You Say “NO” to Footwear?
Now that you’re convinced that going barefoot brings you so many benefits, you can’t wait to start making it a habit to go bare footed. But where do you start? Do you start walking barefoot in the house? Probably a good idea! Do you go barefoot to work or college? That seems a little infeasible. Do you go barefoot on concrete and other hard surfaces?
Well, I’m getting to that.
- Benefits of walking barefoot at home – they say charity starts at home. Well, so does walking barefoot. It’s a lot easier to start going barefoot at home as no one’s around to impose rules. It also gives you all the benefits listed above and it also is not too hard on your feet if you’re a beginner to the whole process. Most houses nowadays have tiled floors, which further give you a nice cosy chill feel as opposed to wearing slippers.
- Benefits of walking barefoot on grass – When you go to a nearby park, make sure to say goodbye to footwear. Walking barefoot on grass is the most beneficial. It establishes a direct link with nature, at its purest form. Hence, more the negative ions that flow into your body, more the deoxidants and more the soothing effect on your feet. If you have a garden in your house, nothing better than to have a small walk without shoes out there occasionally.
- Walking barefoot on concrete – Although all the potential benefits of walking without footwear still apply on concrete, if you’re a newbie, it might take a little getting used to. Initially, you will get a lot of blisters and sore foot. It’s advisable to progress slowly and give it time. As you get used to it, the blisters will stop to appear and it will seem like usual everyday stuff.
- Running barefoot – the same applies to running. Initially, it might be too hard on your feet and will take some getting used to. But in the long run, long runs sans shoes will prove to be just as beneficial to your health as walking sans shoes. For tips to follow if you’re a fresher to running with barefoot, check the article ‘6 Barefoot Running Tips for Beginners’ by Robert Shackelford.
Walking Barefoot Dangers! The Need to be Careful!
Is walking barefoot bad for you? There are two sides to every coin. Although there are more pros when it comes to barefooting, we cannot ignore the cons. Here are a few dangers, most of which can be avoided by choosing when to go barefooted carefully.
- There is always the risk of picking up an infection, which could be fungal or bacterial, especially when running on dirty roads.
- Getting pricked by a sharp rusty object is always unwanted concern, and could lead to tetanus.
- When it’s raining heavily or when the sun’s boiling the soil, weather isn’t the best friend for bare footers.
- Protection and support is obviously a little compromise that you should be willing to make.
Another option to take to enjoy the benefits of walking barefoot and yet prevent your feet from injuries and infections is to wear minimal shoes/Vibram shoes. Check the article ‘Five finger Vibram shoes’ for more information.
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Wrapping it up
Yes! It is always a difficult task to cultivate a new habit, but it’s always worth it. It’s easy to refuse to come out of your comfort zone and stick to the traditional practice of wearing shoes or slippers everywhere you go, but the next time you think of wanting to do something that gives you a few health benefits, you have the solution right in front of you.
You’re just a (barefooted) step away.