What are the health benefits of walking barefoot? Here already a summary:
If you are now curious and want to learn more about the individual benefits, just read on!
If you go into any running or walking store and look at different pairs of shoes, you’ll notice that many of them have excessive cushioning and support. While this cushiony padding can feel pretty great when running in these shoes, it can prevent you from using specific muscle groups that can strengthen your body.
- When a toddler is learning to walk, parents are advised to let this process happen naturally and without shoes. This is because shoes can affect how a child uses the muscles and bones in their feet.
Also, children get feedback from the ground when they walk barefoot, improving their awareness of their body in space. Unfortunately, as a child gets older, we put their feet in shoes and lose the benefits that barefoot walking brings.
For this reason, advocates of barefoot running and training advocate against wearing footwear all day and encourage us all to let our feet be free. Barefoot running may be something you only do at home.
But spending a few minutes a day walking with bare feet on natural surfaces is a simple exercise that requires little effort and can lead to fantastic health benefits.
Where Do the Benefits of Barefoot Walking Come From?
Barefoot running, also known as “grounding or earthing,” has remarkable health benefits. But, what is earthing?
- “Earthing” means walking barefoot on dirt, grass, or sand (i.e., any natural surface). So, to reap the benefits mentioned above, you may need to get off the sidewalk.
Is it good to walk barefoot on the ground?
The planet has its wild charge, and we seem to do better when we have direct contact with it. For example, grounding improves skin conductivity, moderates heart rate variability, improve glucose regulation, reduces stress, and supports immune function.
- The most direct benefit of barefoot running is that barefoot running theoretically restores our ‘natural‘ walking pattern, also known as our gait. However, in addition to barefoot running, walking in nature has its benefits.
Even if it’s just some hours a day, regular walking can reduce cancer risk, improve cardiovascular health, and help weight control. In addition, spending time in nature is beneficial to our well-being, as we know it has significant effects on stress reduction.
Walking can also create physical and emotional rhythm balance. Unlike running, which can be hectic and stressful, walking is relaxing.
We have the opportunity to establish an emotional calm and process the events of the day. In addition, a walk can release endorphins.
What are the health benefits of walking barefoot in the grass?
When you walk barefoot in the grass, the principles of reflexology work. It involves pressing harder on the soles of your feet, which regulates the function of your organs.
- As a result, the foot reflex zones are stimulated, which benefits the entire human body. As a result, over time, your foot mechanics become more flexible and agile.
But that’s not all. People often overlook the many benefits the simple act of walking barefoot offers. Humans are barefoot runners.
Our ancestors wrapped fur around their feet only for protection, which evolved into shoes over time. When we run or walk, our foot muscles must maintain a certain level of contraction to create tension in the fascia and muscles of our legs to absorb the impact forces that occur each time a foot touches the ground.
- In a healthy foot position, this tension mechanism is triggered when sensory nerves in our feet are stimulated. These respond primarily to vibrations that emanate from the ground with each step.
However, after a lifetime of wearing shoes designed to minimize these sensations, these nerves no longer respond, so the impact forces are not dampened but absorbed by our foot and ankle joints, tendons, and bones. This can lead to plantar fasciitis and varicose veins.
Because barefoot running trains the supporting muscles of the feet, the discomfort of flat feet, for example, can be alleviated. Also, the tensions in the claw toes, which result from wearing improperly fitting shoes, can be solved by walking without shoes.
In addition to the many benefits specifically for the feet, there are also benefits for the overall body statics. For example, even low heels alter the gait and can have detrimental effects on the musculoskeletal system, increasing the overuse of muscles and leading to lower back problems.
- Walking is more than just exercise. It is healing that eliminates our stress and replaces it with wellness on a physical and mental level. Walking barefoot helps.
I am not a foot surgeon nor an orthopedic surgeon, but I tried my best to collect the following list for you.
9 Health Benefits from Walking Barefoot You Don’t Know
Below are the 9 main health benefits of walking barefoot explained again in more detail.
1. Normalize Biological Rhythms, Prevent Insomnia and Improve Sleep
Grounding helps restore regular sleep patterns and resets the biological clock in all of us. In addition, environmental pollution, including lights, chemicals, and other factors, greatly affects our sleep patterns.
So contact with the earth’s negatively charged electrons can help your body’s rhythm and other biological processes immensely.
- Earthing also helps normalize biological day-night rhythms. So walking barefoot enables you to relax and sleep better.
Walking with your feet directly touching the ground allows the body to absorb negative electrons through the earth, which helps stabilize daily cortisol rhythms and create a balanced internal bioelectric environment.
Unfortunately, we have lost much of our connection with Mother Earth through modern life. Negative ions present in the earth can help balance the positive ions in our bodies. So spending more time barefoot in nature can bring the most straightforward benefit than you think.
If you don’t sleep well or want to prevent insomnia, try walking in the park or walking barefoot in the grass. You will notice a massive difference in your sleep patterns from day one.
2. Reduce Inflammation
Walking barefoot on grass also helps stimulate the function of your organs. This stimulation can be done in several ways, first, through reflexology.
Second, you bathe in sunlight and get vitamin D, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. And finally, it’s because of the electrons in the earth’s magnetic field.
These electrons enter the body through specific acupuncture points and mucous membranes located just under the skin.
- Since the antioxidants in our body are made up of electrons, they help neutralize radicals, higher the energy level, and ultimately fight inflammation.
3. Improve Mental Well-Being and Reduce Feelings of Anxiety and Stress
Going outside can generally help regulate emotions and balance the nervous system. However, allowing you to contact the earth directly will reduce anxiety and stress levels even more.
Migraines have also been linked to prolonged exposure to radiation in some cases, and since grounding reduces free radicals and grounds the body, it can also relieve headaches.
- In addition, grounding leads to better body awareness and better sleep and can reduce stress – an essential health benefit in today’s hectic, stressful world.
The improved rest, relaxation, and “downtime” in nature that barefoot walking brings contribute to lower stress and anxiety levels. Many people who do not frequently run barefoot fear that it is painful and potentially dangerous to take off their shoes and let their feet touch the ground.
However, people who walk barefoot regularly have more robust feet, are more aware of their surroundings, and are less likely to step on broken glass and other sharp objects than people who wear shoes. This is because people who walk barefoot are more alert, aware and present at the moment.
4. Regulate Heart Health
Walking barefoot leads to a reduction in the clumping of the body’s cells and thus a decrease in blood viscosity. In addition, since high viscosity is a risk factor for heart disease, grounding reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Also, walking barefoot on grass helps synchronize your heartbeat. And do you know why this is important?
Because everything from regulating your temperature to releasing hormones depends on it. Plus, your heart health stays in check because your body’s other organs are functioning well, too.
Try walking barefoot on the grass to tame your anxiety and keep your heart healthy.
5. Stimulate Eyes
According to the science of reflexology, we exert maximum pressure on our second and third toes when we walk.
- These two toes have the most nerve endings that stimulate the function of your eyes. Therefore, walking barefoot also helps your eyesight.
6. Does walking barefoot boost your immune system?
A barefoot walk decreases the number of white blood cells and increases the number of red blood cells.
- The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that this result indicates a positive immune response and therefore helps in controlling blood pressure.
Electron transfer is again the key here. The body can take electrons and deliver them to the areas that need immune support.
A lack of sufficient electrons in the body can weaken the mitochondria, leading to chronic fatigue and other problems. Thus, even a slight deficiency can lead to long-term health problems.
7. Relieve Menstrual Cramps
In addition, barefoot walking helps regulate hormones and relieve menstrual symptoms.
Since grounding can help with back pain relief, it should come as no surprise that barefoot running can also relieve menstrual cramps.
- In a sense, any new pain we feel begins first in the mind and manifests as stress, significantly affecting menstrual cramps.
Getting outside and letting your bare feet touch the earth does wonder for your mind and spirit. Earthing provides the same benefits as pain pills, specifically for women with cramps but without the side effects.
8. Reduce Physical Pain, Loosen Tight Muscles, Strengthen Foot and Leg Muscles
Earthing can prevent the occurrence of delayed onset muscle soreness after physical exercise. So this may well apply to other situations that cause muscle tension, such as working at a desk all day. In addition, back, knee, and hip pain can stem from the way a person walks.
Often, shoes affect a person’s gait negatively, which can lead to physical back pain. In addition, shoes create a situation where you are not walking correctly or the way nature intended without the support of shoes. This can affect your posture and balance.
- Allowing your soles to go bare can help you relearn to walk in its natural way, leading to pain relief in your feet, legs, hips, back, and neck. In addition, shoes are responsible for many foot ailments that leave many people with foot pain each year.
Problems like bunions, corns, calluses, fissures, hammertoes, and more can be reduced or avoided altogether by wearing minimalist shoes. Wearing shoes can weaken a person’s feet and ankles because shoes create a situation where your legs and feet are entirely dependent on the shoes for stability and adequate strength.
- Barefoot running uses all the other muscles in your feet, toes, and legs, which results in more muscular limbs.
You will also injure yourself less because you will be more robust, more flexible, and better balanced after you start walking barefoot frequently.
9. Free Foot Massage
Grounding gives you a free foot massage with a lot of health benefits.
- Small pebbles, stones, and cracks on the earth’s surface gently massage the soles of your feet and help your life energy flow freely through you.
The experience feels so good that barefoot walking parks are springing up worldwide, offering stimulating trails.
We’ve highlighted how barefoot running can do you good in this post and answered the question: “What are the benefits of walking barefoot?” Isn’t it amazing that going barefoot can change your life in such a way?
- So should we start walking barefoot?
I think we could hardly find a better win-win situation. Overall, it can be worthwhile to take off our shoes now and then. We exercise our cardiovascular system and stronger leg muscles by walking, improve our mental health, reduce stress, and support our overall well-being.
Moreover, simply taking off our shoes seems to multiply these benefits as we can synchronize with the earth’s natural electrical charge. Therefore, walking barefoot while running and exercising has advantages if you follow safety precautions and participate in moderation.
- However, you should always be aware of your surroundings and make sure it is safe for you to run barefoot.
Therefore, barefoot shoes are a perfect option.
If you have plantar fasciitis, are concerned about your safety, or foot health, or wonder if barefoot running is proper for you, it is always best to consult your primary care physician or ankle specialist.