Why It’s Really Not So Bad To Walk Barefoot
Written by: Brandi Monasco
Growing up, I hated wearing shoes. I remember putting up a fight with my parents when I was told to put on shoes. I didn’t like the way they felt and I always preferred to be barefoot indoors and outdoors.
Growing up in the country meant being able to cover a lot of ground, exploring the woods, playing in the dirt and just having fun. Call me a tomboy if you want, but more than half the time, I wasn’t wearing shoes.
Now being in my 30’s, I still hate wearing shoes. I prefer to walk barefoot and feel the dirt and grass underneath my feet – well, at least in places that aren’t public!
I was – and still am – told that I’m “going to catch this or that walking barefoot” or that I’m “going to get sick.” Well, I’ve been walking around barefoot pretty much my entire life and I still have yet to “catch” anything or get sick because of it.
Walking around barefoot has not only mental and emotional benefits, but health benefits as well. Check out some of the top benefits:
- Decreased Impact – When you walk, your feet have a natural “feedback” when your foot hits the ground. When you walk barefoot, you step lighter than you would if you were wearing shoes. This is because you can feel the ground when you step. When you are wearing shoes, you have something between the bottom of your feet and the ground, making your steps harder and therefore, causing more impact when you step.
- Increased Muscle Tone – When you walk barefoot, you are not being supported by anything attached to your feet and you have to do the work of balancing yourself. When you walk barefoot, you engage your core muscles more and this creates more strength in your midsection.
- Better Balance – Walking without shoes gives you better balance than walking with shoes. When you walk barefoot, you can feel everything that is on the ground. This gives your brain more information to better help prevent falls. When I was a kid, I had the worst luck with falling and twisting my ankle when I wore shoes than I did when I was barefoot.
- Better Posture – Gradually working your way into walking or running barefoot helps strengthen every muscle in your feet and lower legs. Just as with any other muscle in your body, having strong muscles is healthy.
- Better Posture – Having stronger feet means having better posture. When you’re barefoot, you naturally stand and walk lighter and taller, elongating your entire body.
- Increased Circulation – Having increased circulation in your legs means that you will have less of a chance to develop varicose veins. When you are wearing shoes, your feet can’t bend and flex like they need to, making everything in your foot, including veins, cramp up.
- Peace Of Mind – When you are walking barefoot, you are focusing more on where you are walking and where you are stepping and you become more aware of any danger ahead. Being able to focus on where you are stepping allows you to feel as one with the terrain you are walking on and as one with nature. In turn, being able to allow yourself to be one with nature can help decrease depression and relieve anxiety and stress.
When you walk barefoot, be aware of where you are walking to make sure that you don’t step on anything sharp or that can damage your feet. Give yourself plenty of time for your feet to become adjusted to walking or running barefoot. Going barefoot more will make the skin on the bottom of your feet thicker and less sensitive to things that you do happen to step on; this usually takes about 2 to 3 weeks, depending on how often you go without shoes.
In the long run, being able to go barefoot can help you feel more relaxed and to connect with nature while also reducing any stress you may have.
Give it a try – it’s very therapeutic! Let us know how it goes!
Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
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