There are over one hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the human foot. Adding the 26 bones and 33 joints (including the ankle), the human foot is a complex machine.
Unfortunately, our feet spend most of their time in shoes, so the full expression of this machine is often hindered. Spending time each day walking barefoot can help realign and strengthen your feet, and is highly recommended.
What Is So Bad About Shoes?
As much as they are a part of everyday life, shoes are an invention; we haven’t always used them. Throughout human history, our bare feet met the earth every single day.
Too Much Support
With the advent of the shoe, the natural rhythms of the body became disrupted. While having those arch supporting insoles in your shoes may seem like a good idea, they may actually be hurting your feet.
Walking all day with too much support in your shoes can weaken the muscles responsible for giving your foot its natural shape.
For the thousands of years before the invention of pavement, our feet were used to walking over everything. Uneven surfaces, rocks, tree roots, sand, gravel, hills, you name it.
In modern society, most uneven surfaces are done away with. Even stairs (the modern way to get uphill) are flat. Over time, this lack of variation weakens the muscles, bones, and connective tissues around the feet and legs.
What’s Good About Walking Barefoot?
Connecting your bare feet to the earth promotes everything from strong muscles to correct posture. Simply walking barefoot 30-60 minutes a day provides many benefits.
1. Muscle Training
Remember, there are over 100 different muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the feet, each activating with different motions of the foot. With shoes on, the stiff sole takes much of the work away from these muscles, causing them to atrophy.
Walking barefoot helps strengthen these muscles, bones, and joints. Additionally, by being barefoot, your body begins to return to its natural correct posture. The muscles which help strengthen that posture get a workout.
In some ways, your body is a living, breathing computer. Simply put grounding or earthing is your body picking up electrical impulses from the earth.There is an incredible amount of science supporting the benefits of grounding.1
The earth’s surface is full of electrons. As your bare feet contact the surface, they pick up these electrons. When these extra electrons enter your body, many beneficial changes occur.
Physically, your body starts to change its charge to match that of the Earth. Your nervous system, immune system, and stress levels all come into balance.
Over time, walking barefoot balances cortisol levels, and can even reduce inflammation without the need for medications.
3. Sensory Information
Ever wonder why your feet are so ticklish? The human foot is one of the most nerve-rich areas of the body. Some estimates reach as high as 200,000 nerve endings in the feet.
These nerve endings send signals to the brain constantly, providing feedback that the brain uses to adjust movement.
Try this: Run down your street with running shoes on. Now, take your shoes off and run down the street barefoot. What happens?
You begin to land less on your heels, and more on the balls of your feet. You may even lean forward, or bend your knees more as you run. Why is this? Your brain wants to reduce impact on the body, and makes beneficial adjustments instantaneously.
While barefoot, it has a lot more information to work with. Walking barefoot 30-60 minutes a day can help correct the way you walk, your gait, and even your posture.
Get To Stepping
Walking barefoot does wonders for your immune system, posture, and muscle strength. Even your bones and joints benefit! With all the amazing benefits of walking barefoot, the real question is: Why are your shoes still on?
|↑1||Chevalier, Gaétan, Stephen T. Sinatra, James L. Oschman, Karol Sokal, and Pawel Sokal. “Earthing: health implications of reconnecting the human body to the earth’s surface electrons.” Journal of environmental and public health 2012 (2012).|