A common question I get from some of my clients…
Is walking barefoot good or bad for your body?
After doing plenty of research I have learned that surprisingly, there are many health benefits to going barefoot that folks may not know about.
According to the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, some of the health advantages of going barefoot include increased antioxidants, reduced inflammation, increased circulation and improved sleep. When you are walking barefoot, also know as “Earthing”, you are drawing negatively charged electrons from the earth which studies show improve health. You also develop muscle strength in your feet, legs and hips according to experts. You will strengthen your calf muscles as well as improve walking and running form.
By walking barefoot you will have better posture by elongating your body and strengthening your spine. It can bring you Peace of Mind…”When you’re fully barefoot, you’re awarefoot – studying the ground and your surroundings for everything. Until your skin grows strong (about 2-3 weeks) you’re hyper-vigilant, looking at the ground for any sign of danger. Going barefoot means that from this step forward, you are now one with the terrain, not just a spectator. Focusing on your steps, rather than your problems, helps empty the mind and put you at ease. Consider it forced quieting of the mind (which all of us could use). This gives you a great sense of peace or mindfulness, as you’re now focused purely on the run (or walk), not on the troubles you’ve left behind.”
There are also of course, hazards to going barefoot like stepping on a sharp object, injuring the skin (blisters), picking up a bacteria, or fungal infection, or contracting hookworms (parasite found in animal feces). Another concern is the lack of support offered from going barefoot and the damage it may have on your body. You could have achilles tendonitis or calf strain from muscles being overworked.
Overall, walking barefoot can be a valuable aspect to a healthy lifestyle.. Throughout history humans mostly walked barefoot or with shoes made of animal skin. When going barefoot it is probably best to start with a soft surface like grass, dirt or sand. Allow your muscles and joints to become more stable and the skin on the bottom of your feet to thicken before walking on hard cement or asphalt.