Since I was a child I have loved walking around barefoot, at a party, I’m the first to take off my shoes and in a rainstorm, I’m right next to Fynn splashing in puddles. I personally love feet, my feet anyway and of course, baby toes which we all find edible, but I know so many who-who cringes, who can’t stand feet and others who have honestly never thought about their feet consciously.
My feet are precious to me – I have walked through ruins barefoot, run dirt trails, danced on the ocean floor, balanced on rocks and tree branches. Aside from the things I am able to do because of my feet, walking barefoot, also called earthing releases ions, connects you to the soil, grounds you to the Earth and has many other therapeutic effects that I am happily sharing with you today.
When you’re barefoot, you’re feet awaken and begin studying the ground and your surroundings, you become one with the terrain and not just a spectator. Your hyper-vigilant for the first couple weeks until your soul grows strong, feeling the ground for any sign of danger. Going barefoot means focusing on your steps, rather than your problems, which quiets the mind and puts you in a meditative state.
While padding can feel pretty amazing, shoes may prevent you from using certain muscle groups that can actually strengthen your body. Think of your feet as a foundation, in yoga, we would say “root down” before a balancing pose which brings awareness to our feet and builds our foundation.
We keep up heads up more when we are walking barefoot too, this is because of the communication our feet have with the ground, which means we have less need to look down, which can put us off balance and cause toddlers to fall down. Walking barefoot develops our muscles and ligaments of the foot, increases the strength of the foot’s arch, improves our awareness of the space around us and contributes to good posture.
Additionally, when you’re not supported by your shoes, you have to do the work of balancing yourself. This comes directly from engaging your core muscles (abs and back) and creating a wall of strength in your midsection. Legs will get better tone and balance as well as an asymmetrical strength since they’re forced to do the job of supporting you, rather than your shoes.
Did you know that we have more nerve endings in our feet than anywhere else on the body? This means that when you’re barefoot you reboot the supercomputer (the nervous system between your feet and brain) to become awake and aware. The feet can now communicate better with the brain, helping the entire balance itself and can even help with pain relief and more.
The sole of your foot has over 200,000 nerve endings, for this very reason; they make us safer, more careful, and better able to adapt to the ground beneath us. When barefoot, we are better able to climb, cut, pivot, balance, and adjust quickly when the ground shifts beneath us. The dirt may provide many benefits too.
In a shoe, your foot can’t bend, rotate or flex, but out of a shoe, you’re moving your foot more three-dimensionally, giving your feet a workout. The more your feet work, the stronger they become and the increased blood flow helps with varicose veins, temperature regulation, healing, and much more, including:
- Walking barefoot is logical, pragmatic and rebellious when you consider innovators such as Steve Jobs and the hippie culture
- Can reduce your blood pressure and cortisol (stress hormone) levels
- Improves balance and body awareness, which can help with pain relief
- Leads to improved mechanics of the hips, knees, and core
- Maintains an appropriate range of motion in your foot and ankle joints
- Strengthens and stabilizes your muscles and ligaments
- Provides relief from improperly fitting shoes, bunions and foot deformities
- Builds stronger leg muscles, which support the lower back region
- Increases antioxidants which reduce inflammation
- improves sleep
In many cultures shoes are not worn indoors or unless needed. Think of walking barefoot like renewing the vitality of your feet. Through this natural process, your foot transforms into the healthiest, pain-free version of itself.
By walking, we exercise our muscles and cardiovascular system, improve our mental health, reduce stress and support our overall wellness. Walking barefoot multiplies these benefits and allows us to synchronize with the earth’s natural electric charge. We evolved on the earth, and it’s essential to our quality of life to reconnect this way to nature.
Enjoy your feet and what they were made for, feel the ground, step lighter and if this resonates with you, please share with me a story about your foot freedoms in the comments below!
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