Ditch Your Shoes! 8 Incredible Benefits of Going Barefoot
Ever thought about ditching your shoes and just walking around…oh, I don’t know…barefoot?
(Audience gasps)…(lady faints)…(flock of birds flies away)…(Godzilla starts terrorizing a nearby village)
Hmmm. That was unexpected.
But, seriously. Hear me out.
There are actually many benefits to barefoot activity that you probably never even considered. Benefits such as greater balance, overall healthier feet, and even better circulation can all be yours with a little naked feet time. But even these are just the tip of the ice burg.
Care to find out what other benefits are associated with regular barefoot activity? Great! Then rip off your shoes, throw away your stinky, smelly socks, and let’s get to the top 10 health benefits of going barefoot.
8 Health Benefits Of Barefoot Activity
1. Improves Balance
The soles of your feet are covered with tiny receptors that constantly send information about the surface you’re walking on to your brain.
This is what helps you balance and navigate the world around you without constantly tripping and falling. Obviously, the effectiveness of these receptors is dependent on both the quantity and quality of the information they receive.
When barefoot, because your feet are in direct contact with the ground, these receptors are able to collect and send large amounts of information about the surface you’re walking on to your brain. This includes things like temperature, grade, texture, etc. Your brain then deciphers all this information to figure out how to best keep you upright.
Wearing shoes, however, significantly reduces the quantity and quality of the information your feet can gather from your environment. This lack of information is what leads to impaired balance and an increased risk of falls.
2. Improves Foot Health & Strength
Want healthier feet? Go barefoot!
Seriously, strong foot muscles are essential for overall foot health. Without adequate foot strength, you set yourself for a variety of injuries including plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis, ankle sprains, and more.
Fortunately, building foot strength doesn’t require any fancy equipment or tricky exercises. No siree Bob. Because going barefoot requires you to use more muscles to aid in balance and support, just going barefoot for 15 to 20 minutes a day can help you start building stronger, healthier feet in no time.
When should you go barefoot? Whenever really. Try taking out the trash, working in your garden, or taking your dog out for a short walk with no shoes. Your feet will love you for it!
3. Decreases Foot Related Problems
The flip side of stronger, healthier feet is less foot related problems. As mentioned above, weak feet set you up for a variety of problems such as plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis, ankle sprains, and more.
By simple strengthening your feet with barefoot activity, you’ll find many of your foot related problems simply resolve or lessen on their own.
4. Improves Circulation
Obviously, working muscles need oxygen. And the harder they’re working, the more oxygen they need.
Well, the same is true for the muscles in your feet. When you go barefoot, the muscles of your feet have to work harder to aid in balance and support. This requires your body to pump more blood to your feet and lower legs to provide more energy to the working muscles.
This is great for anyone suffering from circulatory issues such as varicose veins and cold feet as it forces more blood to the lower extremities.
5. Improves Running Mechanics
We’re not going to get too technical here, but running barefoot is an easy way to improve running mechanics.
With no cushion from your shoes, running barefoot forces you to begin landing more on the front part of your foot and begins to shorten your stride length. Both goods things for taking pressure off your knees and hips.
Even running with no shoes just a few minutes a day is enough to begin to train your body to run with better mechanics. Of course you’ll want to start slow and work your way up as your feet strengthen over time.
6. Improves Posture
You may have never noticed it before, but pretty much all shoes are made with at least a bit of a heel. Yes, even running shoes.
To accommodate heels on shoes, our bodies adapt by altering our posture for the worse. Overtime, our posture adapts to the point that it becomes difficult to correct.
Going barefoot is a simple and effective way for improving posture quickly. This is due to both the removal of the heel found on shoes as well as the increased stimulation to the soles of your feet.
Because shoes are obviously a must at times, try wearing a shoe like this one with a zero heel to toe drop ratio. These shoes are made with no heel and can also help with improving posture.
7. Decreases Stress
Ever notice how relaxing a foot rub can be? That’s because stimulating the receptors on the bottoms of our feet have been shown to aid in reducing anxiety and stress.
Going barefoot is like a foot rub on steroids as it gets the receptors on the soles of your feet firing like crazy, thus aiding in relaxation.
8. And Don’t Forget About Those ‘Earthing’ Benefits
What the heck is ‘earthing’ you ask.
Well, basically it means being in direct contact with the natural earth. Whether that’s sand, dirt, a lake, or the ocean, it doesn’t matter. The benefit is the same.
Research is showing that when we are in direct contact with the natural earth (sidewalks and streets don’t count), there is a transfer of electrons from from our bodies to the earth and vice versa. And apparently, there are some pretty amazing health benefits associated with this transfer of electrons.
Earthing has shown to benefit a variety of conditions including chronic pain, glucose regulation, overall heart health, blood viscosity, stress, and even boosted immunity.
So, yes, all this can be yours by simply walking barefoot outside a few minutes a day.
How Much Time Should I Spend Barefoot?
Ideally, we’d all walk around barefoot all of the time. Why? Because our feet weren’t designed to be stuffed into a pair of shoes.
Obviously, however, this isn’t really possible in today’s world. So, how much time should you attempt to spend barefoot outdoors?
I’d say as much as possible. Whether that’s 10 minutes or an hour doesn’t really matter. Just make an effort to give your feet some freedom each and every day and see how much happier your little tootsies become.
Look. I get it. You think the benefits of going barefoot are awesome but you just can’t bring yourself to walk outside without shoes. I mean, who knows where Fido left his last surprise right?
No worries my ‘wanting the benefits of going barefoot but are too concerned about walking around outside with no shoes’ friend. Although you’d miss out on benefit #8, you’d still reap all the other benefits of barefoot walking, but with a little added protection.
Below are a few examples of what’s available for a more protected barefoot experience. Click on any of them for more info.
Of course there are many other options available. But these should hopefully give you some idea of what’s out there for you.
Have you noticed any benefits from walking around barefoot? Let us know in the comments section below!
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