Even though we’ve come to think of them as a vital part of our lives, only 20 percent of the world’s population today wears shoes. Although in western society, shoes are necessary in certain situations, now that spring is here, and summer is on its way, there’s nothing stopping you from finding a park or beach, taking your shoes off and going for a barefoot stroll. The benefits might surprise you.
1. Clear Your Mind
It’s hard not to pay attention to every step when you’re walking barefoot. You have to be on the look out for sharp rocks and thorns. Awareness of what’s in front of you in this moment quiets your inner chatter and clears your mind and helps you focus on the here and now.
2. It’s Free Foot Yoga
Walking barefoot strengthens and stretches the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your feet, ankles and calves. This helps prevent injury, knee strain and back problems. Not only that, but because it works muscles not used when you’re wearing shoes, it strengthens and stretches your core, helping keep your posture upright, and your balance spot on.
3. It’s a Free Reflexology Session.
There are reflex points to every part of your body in your feet. Every little bump and rock in the road helps to stimulate all these little reflex points. If it hurts at first – especially in specific areas, this means your feet need the stimulation they’re getting by being barefoot. Over time, these sensitivities will go away, and the areas the tenderness corresponds to will be rejuvenated, helping decrease the symptoms of whatever it is that ails you.
4. Decrease Anxiety & Depression.
Walking barefoot in the grass can help decrease anxiety and depression by 62 percent, and increases the levels of those feel good endorphins. Awesome!
5. Get a Good Night’s Sleep.
The ancients believed that walking barefoot in the grass was the best cure for insomnia, and many people still swear by it today.
6. It’s Grounding. Literally.
Our bodies are made up of about 60 percent water, which is great for conducting electricity. The earth has a negative ionic charge. Going barefoot grounds our bodies to that charge. Negative Ions have been proven to detoxify, calm, reduce inflammation, synchronise your internal clocks, hormonal cycles and physiological rhythms. The best places to get some negative ions through your feet are by the water. Everyone knows how good it feels to be barefoot on the beach – now we know why!
7. Get Back to What Matters.
To be barefoot outside doesn’t just involve your feet – the rest of you has to be outside too. You get to connect with Mother Nature all around. Feel the sunshine on your face; hear the wind in the trees. It’s easier to connect to a higher power when you’re in touch with Nature; it’s easier to put things into perspective.
Who knew something as simple as a barefoot walk could be so good for you – mind, body and soul.
Stephanie Slon is a Reflexologist and Reiki practitioner living in Grande Prairie Alberta.