Can walking barefoot help to improve the health? Walking around barefoot is beneficial in a multitude of ways. Some people like to collect shoes to wear for every sort of occasion, and others like to feel the grass under their feet and the sand squished between their toes. The benefits on the body and the immune system are plentiful from walking barefoot.
Strong immune system
Have your kids take off their shoes and run through the mud, allow them to run through puddles and create a mess. Walking barefoot can decrease your white blood cell count and increase your red blood cell count. This results in a positive immune response and fighting off diseases and infections.
A lot of research has proved the benefits of walking around barefoot and connecting the human body with the surface of the Earth. This is called grounding or earthing. It benefits the psychical and emotional health. It reduces inflammation, immune responses, wound healing and helps prevent and treat chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Being barefoot also reduces stress as it connects you more to nature and the natural parts of life and existence. It helps you sleep better at night if you practice doing it for extended periods of time throughout the day.
Barefoot walking and clear root chakra
Being barefoot also helps clear your root chakra. Chakras are energy points in the body that correlate with different areas and aspects of your life. The root chakra is all about building from the bottom up. It is about grounding yourself and having your basic needs met. Becoming one with the earth.
The best way to open or to clear the root chakra is to be barefoot and walking in nature. When the root chakra is blocked or imbalanced it is usually due to early unresolved childhood trauma. This will continue to appear in and throughout your life until you can face and overcome your battles. It comes out as eating disorders, being sluggish and lazy, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, worry, overthinking, nightmares, anger, overly sexual and a disconnect from the body and soul. Letting yourself touch the earth opens a portal of acceptance, like you are one with the ground. This is very beneficial for self-confidence and learning to overcome your traumas. One little step can make a big difference.
Muscles and bones
Most people are barefoot in their homes, but for a lot of people exercising and walking barefoot is a daily activity. Shoes affect how you use muscles and bones in your feet. When you are barefoot you are using the proper and natural ones. Adding shoes can overexert certain muscles in the body. When a baby learns to walk they walk without shoes for that same natural purpose. Being barefoot allows your body to get used to the ground and improves your body awareness and proprioception.
Let your feet be free! Shoes really constrict more than your feet. They constrict the muscles, the legs, your own and well-being. Walking barefoot restores the way you naturally walk; your natural stride and walking pattern. A lot of shoes have too much cushion and support. This can cause you to apply too much weight into one area of the foot. It also encourages certain parts of your foot to not be used and then you lose an essential muscle.
Improve your balancing
Walking barefoot gives you better foot position in hitting the ground. It also improves your balance. Have you tried yoga with shoes on? It is way harder to hold tree, eagle, warrior three or any type of balancing pose. Your toes keep that lovely grip when you practice being barefoot more. Walking barefoot improves the entire body, from the hips to the core to the knees. It is also good to keep the strong ankles and leg muscles which in turn prevent lower and upper back pain. Basically, being barefoot keeps your entire body feeling good, because it all starts from the bottom and works its way to the top.
Mental health benefits
We have talked a lot about physical health benefits of walking barefoot on out body, but can you imagine that this will help our minds also. One research indicates that walking barefoot positively impacts the mental health. After walking some time nervous system and endocrine systems start working better and you will start having better sleep at night.
In addition, just being in a nature is amazing. You can feel the earth under your legs and get its energy; breathe some fresh air and feel stress relief. Even a short stroll can encourage the release of endorphin and can raise your mood.
Finally, walking is not just an exercise, it’s also a good source of oxygen, easiest form of stress relief and the best way to spend time with someone. Therefore, we can assume that walking barefoot in nature will positively affect your well-being on physical and mental level.
Start walking barefoot gradually
Before you begin walking barefoot 100 percent of the time make sure you gradually build up your feet. Start inside and on safe and soft surfaces before going out to the gravel. Make sure you don’t have open wounds for infection and that you clean your feet once you’ve run barefoot outside. Although it is natural you train your body to lose its natural state when you put shoes on!
For the beginning start with 15-20 minutes walk on the soft surface like sand or grass. When your feet and ankles adapt you may increase walking time and distance. Try walking in different surfaces from soft to hard. Moreover, there are some activities like yoga or martial arts that needs to be done with bare foot, try doing them also outside.
As for activities requiring more stamina such as running or hiking, do not start them until you prepare your feet and master your skills. Every time after finishing walking or running check the bottom of your feet for injuries and if you have some, immediately disinfect them.
Have fun, be messy, and wear less shoes!