I have been seeing a lot of social media posts recently and hearing a lot of people talk about the benefits of going barefoot. Studies are showing major health benefits for those that spend even just 5 minutes each day walking on sand, grass, or soil. This practice is called “earthing”. As we walk on the earth, our bodies are drawing electrons from the ground, therefore grounding us. These negative ions from the earth have been proven to moderate heart rate, detoxify, reduce inflammation, boost immunity, reduce stress, and improve sleep.
Today we are CONSTANTLY surrounded by positive ions. Positive ions are produced from cell phones, Ipads, televisions, laptops, microwaves… basically any electronic. Positive ions are pro-inflammatory, which can cause a whole slew of health problems, so it is extremely important to counteract them with negative ions.
I spoke with Josh Graves, owner and coach at Fitness on Fire, this week to get his opinion on the benefits of going barefoot. He says, “Your feet were meant to be your body’s first line of communication with your environment.” As we get older, we wear shoes to protect our feet, however we end up losing our ability to feel what is truly going on beneath us. We have less connection with the earth and we are not consciously aware of what our ligaments and tendons are doing and how they are moving. All the muscles that are supposed to fire to keep our feet healthy, no longer have to.
In today’s world, when someone has a fallen arch, Plantar Fasciitis, over pronation, supination, or whatever the case may be, our first instinct is to get them a fancy pair of orthotics and the problem is solved. But is it really? Instead of trying to strengthen the foot and ankle, we are essentially just slapping a Band-Aid on the issue.
Our hands and feet have the most nerve endings in the human body. By going barefoot and performing crawls, we begin to not only strengthen our feet but also increase proprioceptive awareness, which is our body’s ability to sense itself. Improving proprioception can improve balance and coordination, increase strength, and improve speed and agility.
So whether you are an athlete wanting to take your training to the next level or someone just looking to improve your overall health, take as little as 5 min each day to be barefoot in nature!