Barefoot Walking benefits

25 Benefits Of Barefoot Walking

Barefoot Walking benefits

25 Benefits of Barefoot Walking

Almost everything about barefoot training is awesome in my opinion.  There’s something about it that brings you closer to the earth and nature and pulls me away for just a moment from the hustle and bustle of the real world.

25 Benefits of barefoot walking:

  1. An Excellent Progression To Barefoot Running
  2. Reduces Stress
  3. Better Sleep
  4. Reduced Inflammation In Your Joints
  5. Helps Prevent Varicose Veins
  6. Increases The Feeling Of Proprioception
  7. Improved Body Balance
  8. Improves Spatial Awareness
  9. Improves Eyesight
  10. Reduced Cortisol Levels
  11. Healthier Heart
  12. Free Foot Massage
  13. Regulates Post-meal Blood Sugar
  14. Improved Posture
  15. Stronger Feet
  16. Balances Hormones
  17. Reduced Knee And Hip Pain
  18. Vitamin D From The Sun
  19. Makes You Happier
  20. You Spend More Time In Nature
  21. Burns Body Fat
  22. Reduces Calluses
  23. Improved Foot Flexibility
  24. Walking Lowers Blood Pressure
  25. Better Overall Health

Walking barefoot with no shoes or with barefoot shoes on has lots of benefits to our health and well being. There are not anecdotal, I have found them to be true. Here are 25 of the benefits that will no doubt encourage and inspire you on your barefoot experience.

But there is one thing that always seems to present a challenge. That is that barefoot walking seems to be approached without enough information to fully enjoy it in a modern world when the convention seems to be to wear shoes.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I will attempt to be as thorough as possible. Generally, people in today’s world don’t walk enough as it is and many big cities have limited pedestrian options available.

25 Benefits of Barefoot Walking

1.An Excellent Progression To Barefoot Running:

Walking barefoot is a wonderful route in your preparation to more robust forms of barefoot activity be it with shoes or without. Typically the transition to barefoot walking is best approached gradually and going on walks of varying distances is an excellent way to do this.

2.Reduces Stress:

Walking Barefoot reduces stress. I regularly use the walk with my dog especially in the evening as a stress reliever. If you can find a wooded area to walk through even better as it gets you close to and in touch with nature.

Time outside with nature that also come along with walking barefoot all help contribute to reduced levels of stress and anxiety I find it useful to get your particular set of  “loops” as I call them. The loops are routes you map for your walk to add variety to the experience. I tend to have A “mega loop” and “normal loop” and a “short loop” that is time and weather dependent to meet my needs. Deep Long breathing on the walk helps to clear your head and reduce stress after a long day.

3.Better Sleep:

As with point two above reducing your stress with walking barefoot will improve relaxation leading to better sleep. This is an important health benefit in today’s hectic and exhausting world the same electrical brain activity that leads to better sleep also helps a person feel less stressed the improved sleep relaxation.  Insomnia can be controlled; Insomnia is a sleeping disorder in people who have difficulties in sleeping or have disturbed sleep during the night.  it’s believed that walking barefoot on the grass can cure Insomnia.

4.Reduced Inflammation In Your Joints:

Many studies have shown that back pain, knee pain and hip pain can all stem from the way a person walks, and often traditional heeled shoes affect your gait in a negative way. Walking in barefoot shoes can train the body to walk naturally thereby reducing some of the pain in your feet legs hips back and neck furthermore recent studies have shown that shoes are actually to blame for many of the foot ailments.

5.Helps Prevent Varicose Veins:

Going barefoot is recommended to help prevent varicose veins. The movement of the feet when walking barefoot increases the flow of blood to the veins. This, in turn, helps the leg muscles better circulate blood flow back to the heart. This is especially usefully for ladies that wear high heels for long periods of time. Some barefoot walking built into your daily routine will do you a world of good

6.Increases The Feeling Of Proprioception:

Proprioception (or kinesthesia) is the sense through which we perceive the position and movement of our body, including our sense of equilibrium and balance, senses that depend on the notion of force (Jones, 2000). From: Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 2013 
Going barefoot makes your feet feel the ground directly. This increases your spacial awareness and helps in grounding you and connecting you to the earth.

7.Improved Body Balance:

Another benefit of walking barefoot is an increase in your sense of balance as you are more connected to the ground due to your direct contact with it. It stimulates the vestibular system in the brain which controls the body balance to have the neural connection for a greater balance.

8.Improves Spatial Awareness:

Barefoot walking influences the brain and develops better senses. Many people who don’t frequently walk barefoot fear that kicking off their shoes and letting their feet touch the ground will be painful and possibly dangerous. However, studies have shown that people who regularly walk barefoot have stronger feet and are more in tune with their surroundings. They are much less likely to step on broken glass or other sharp objects than people who are used to wearing shoes. This is because people who walk barefoot tend to be more alert and present than traditional shoe wearers.

9.Improves Eyesight:

Your eyesight can be improved as there are pressure points in the feet that connect to the nerves in the eye. walking on a variety of surfaces like grass, pebbles, sand and so on activates the pressure points under your feet which are said to be directly connected to improving your eyesight.

10.Reduced Cortisol Levels:

Barefoot Walking will lower the stress hormone cortisol present in your body. This will make you feel more relaxed, but it also negates the negative effects of cortisol on insulin sensitivity levels.

11.Healthier Heart:

Regular barefoot walking improves blood cell function and helps to reduce heart disease. A study published in the journal of alternative and complementary medicine found that earthing from barefoot walking helps increase the surface charge of red blood cells. This change leads to decreased blood viscosity considering high blood viscosity is a significant Factor in heart disease they may have the ability to dramatically impact diagnoses rates of the health condition.

12.Free Foot Massage:

Walking barefoot gives you a free foot massage. There are so many health benefits to getting a foot massage. Earthing actually gives you a free foot rub too, small pebbles stones on the Earth’s surface gently massage the soles of the feet and help vital energy flow freely throughout the body the experience feels so good. 

13. Regulates Post-meal Blood Sugar:

Going for a walk after you have eaten is a good way to minimise the impact of the inevitable blood sugar spike. Especially if the meal is carbohydrate dense. A 15-20 minute walk is all that is needed to regulate your blood sugar levels.

14.Improved Posture:

Walking barefoot is a good opportunity to work on your posture. I practice a lot on my walks as I like most people spend a lot of time in a chair for work. Bracing your core and walking upright is a good practice to maintain core strength and posture. The core refers to three main muscle groups: The inner thighs, the pelvic floor and the abdominals. The psoas is the focal point of walking. Once it is correctly activated, and functioning allows your body to move with the greatest efficiency and ease. In the absence of this balance and strength at your core, the psoas won’t function optimally.

Correct tone and balanced function of these muscle groups allow for the correct alignment of the legs, pelvis and lumbar spine too. This is the best environment for containing the internal organs and releasing the psoas to work optimally. Barefoot walking as one piece in a series of other practices like bracing I mentioned above will give your body the core strength needed to thrive in all areas of daily life.

15.Stronger Feet:

Barefoot walking tones and strengthens your foot and leg muscles. Many experts believe that wearing shoes weakens a person’s feet and ankles because footwear creates a situation in which your legs and feet are completely dependent on the shoes for stability and strength. Walking barefoot engages all of the muscles in your feet, toes and legs which not only create stronger extremities but also helps those extremities appear more toned and attractive. You’re also less prone to injuries because you’ll be stronger, more agile, and better balanced after you begin walking regularly.

16.Balances Hormones:

Barefoot walking can decrease hormonal and menstrual symptoms. Imbalance of the hormones can lead to several mental and physical problems. Premenstrual syndrome in women can cause mood swings, stomach aches, headaches, weight gain, constipation, acne and a few other symptoms. Walking barefoot can help in decreasing the symptoms.

17.Reduced Knee And Hip Pain:

Walking barefoot is recommended if you suffer from knee and hip pain too. The movement associated with walking increases your blood flow to these areas and allows your nerves remain in position to reduce inflammation resulting in pain. barefoot walking will contribute to your overall health and increase the blood flow which is good for your body’s circulation.

18.Vitamin D From The Sun:

Walking in the sunshine for short periods of time is an excellent source of Vitamin D3. All that is needed is about 10-15 minutes of direct exposure to the sun. A post-high-carbohydrate meal walk as I mentioned earlier is a perfect time to do this.

19.Makes You Happier:

Barefoot Walking Releases Endorphins (the happy hormone). Research has shown that walking barefoot releases endorphins that flood you with feel-good vibes. But science aside – you can’t argue with feeling good.

20.You Spend More Time In Nature:

 Walking outdoors especially in wooded areas or forest has been proven to be beneficial to your physiological and psychological well-being. Making the effort weekly to get out of the city is even better. In the absence of that do the best you can. Consider seeking out a coastline or a local park where the air is considerably cleaner. You will have the change to enjoy the views and enjoy the good air.

21.Burns Body Fat:

Walking Barefoot helps you burn some body fat. This is all dependent on the level of intensity of your walk and other factors. For instance, a brisk walk is not high enough to deplete a large amount of glycogen (the stored form of carbohydrate in muscle). The distance and duration are also factors in how much you can spin up your metabolism to signal your body that its time to burn fat. If you walk consistently enough the cumulative effect could have considerable fat burning benefits.

22.Reduces Calluses:

Going barefoot walks reduce the impact of long hours in shoes and the associated problems like calluses, ingrown toenails, bunions, or hammertoes. These issues can arise from consistently wear tight and ill-fitting shoes for extended periods of time.

23.Improved Foot Flexibility:

Barefoot walking, Helps to improve the flexibility of your feet. The ability for your feet to move unrestricted allow this to happen.

24.Walking Lowers Blood Pressure:

Barefoot walking has been shown to have a positive effect on your endothelium (the cells of your arteries). This, in turn, promotes the release of nitric oxide, making your arteries more relaxed and supple.  Relaxed and more supple arteries from walking long enough all add to reducing your blood pressure.

25.Better Overall Health:

It is a well-known fact that walking is good for your overall health. In a modern world where we spend a lot less time walking an more sitting in various form walking regularly is good for your overall health and well-being.

Wrap up

While barefoot walking will not replace your session in the gym it a great add-on. I do I in combination with Training but where they are periods of time when I can get to the gym for whatever reason walking is one of my go-to things to do. The feeling of stress relief after a long day of a tough situation is difficult to explain in absolute terms be is one to be used and exploited.

Granted you won’t be able to get your heart rate up as much you would in a HIIT session. Neither will you get the loading on your muscles ligaments and tendons like you would if you lifted weights. The thing to understand is that barefoot walking is a complementary form of exercise and can be used as an excellent first step if you do nothing at all.

That doesn’t mean that barefoot walking it can’t replace a workout in the gym. If your aim is to improve insulin sensitivity, regulate blood sugar levels, and release endorphins, then barefoot walking can is the way to go.

Don’t get caught up in the number of steps a day you need to take. I believe that the numbers put out there are just as a guideline and one should look to exceed them where you can. However on the flip side, if you feel stressed go for a walk. If you have just eaten, go for a walk. If your blood sugar is high go for a walk. My point is that you try not to be prescriptive because your health benefits from a walk could be immediate.

Strive to walk slow, fast or briskly. Walk up-hill, downhill, to work, to the shops, or hike through varying terrain. Just move as much as possible on foot. It doesn’t always have to be in the form of a timed workout, but rather as an activity that is woven into your everyday life amongst gym training and any other activities that are fun for you.

I hope you continue to enjoy your barefoot journey and get the benefits for your health and well being. As I said once you have mastered this the next step is barefoot running have a look at my beginner article here

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