Walking with shoes or slippers on is like our second nature. But the next time you decide to go for a stroll, make sure to take off your shoes and walk barefoot for a while. Interestingly, walking barefoot, which is also termed as ‘grounding’ or ‘earthing’ has several benefits which are not known to many. It’s no longer a kooky counterculture but has become a healthy practice.
Let’s find out what happens to your body when you start walking barefoot.
1. Reduces bunions and hammertoes
In order to avoid bunions, it is advised that you walk barefoot so you can strengthen the foot muscles and allow the feet and toes to be in their natural position.
2. Improves sleep
Our ancestors were wise enough to understand the benefits of staying close to the ground. The benefits include relaxation and relieving tension. When we walk bare feet, our body removes positive ions and allow negative ions to enter our body. Negative ions are known as natural anti-depressants and they help in improving sleep quality. So next time you walk barefoot on a beach or go swimming, you know that you will have a sound sleep.
3. Sharpens our brain
Most of know are unaware why techniques such as martial arts and yoga are performed barefeet. Now here’s how it works. Our body consists of 70 per cent water and the more we stay grounded, the more it functions properly. Walking barefoot creates an ionic balance which directly influences our sense of well-being, sharpens our mind and provides mental stability.
4. Keeps your knees, hips, and core in proper alignment
Your knees, hips, and core will be better aligned without shoes because the cushioned soles of sneakers, for example, push out your pelvis and change your natural posture. In fact, no matter which shoes you wear, they will shape your knees, hips, and core a little differently than the natural state.
5. Reduces stress
The same study also proved that earthing can reduce stress. All participants in the test study reported that their stress levels had either been greatly reduced or disappeared entirely.
6. Promotes blood circulation
It goes with the principle of gravity. As gravity pulls everything towards itself, our blood starts to circulate pretty well in our soles. Our walking process works as a counter effect, improving overall blood circulation in the body.
7. Allows for good strength and stability in the muscles
A lot of shoes have excessive cushioning and support that make you feel more comfortable when walking. However, this padding can prevent you from using certain muscle groups that can actually strengthen your body, according to Dr. Bruce Pinker, a foot surgeon.
8. Strengthens the immune system
Another benefit of walking barefoot is better immunity. Our foot sole provides numerous sensory receptors and nerve endings that send positive vibes to our body. This prepares our body to fight against diseases and hence, strengthens our immunity.
9. Reduces the risk of heart disease
The better our blood circulates, lesser are the chances of blood clotting and coronary artery diseases. Walking barefoot charges the red blood cells and prevents our blood from getting thick.
10. Improves balance
Walking barefoot is better than wearing deeply cushioned shoes when it comes to balance. People’s feet become less sensitive as they age. If they have also lost touch with the ground, they might become more prone to falling, says evolutionary biologist Daniel E. Lieberman.
11. Allows for better control of your foot position
Walking barefoot more closely restores your ‘natural’ walking pattern, also known as your gait, according to Dr. Jonathan Kaplan, foot and ankle specialist and orthopedic surgeon with Hoag Orthopedic Institute. As such, the positioning of your foot as it strikes the ground will be better than when you wear shoes.
12. Improves the ways the body works to sustain life
There is evidence in studies that earthing improves the nervous system, the blood flow, and the very way your organ systems, cells, and tissues work together.
References: brightside.me, timesofindia.indiatimes.com