My journey to barefoot living has been....well....a journey. Growing up in the gym I was barefoot at least 4-5 hours a day. Living by the beach I was barefoot most of my childhood and adolescents. But, not as barefoot as I have learned is best.
As I have embarked on my fitness journey I have come to realize that many of our imbalances, weaknesses and clumsiness comes from being in shoes.
Let me explain.
The human foot is designed for barefoot living. Have you ever looked at a toddler's feet and marveled at how chunky and wide they are? Those little piggies are spread out to help that little person walk unhindered. The foot is a remarkable body part. With over 200,000 nerve endings and over 170,000 ligaments it has a huge task. It is commissioned to hold your entire body upright. It has to move in numerous planes of motion all the while maintaining it's integrity to keep you from falling over. Crazy, right?
200,000 nerve endings! These little guys are important! They tell the brain what is happening under the feet and help the brain to then direct us as to how to step, how to balance, how to stabilize. This remarkable network of busy messengers tell our brain how to react to keep us safe, maintain healthy joint mobility by creating adjustments to our gait.
But, what happens as we get just slightly older...even just after we learn to walk? Our moms or dads put shoes on us. You know, those cute little converse coffins? Trust me...I know...I wore them! And those messengers that help tell our brain what is happening beneath our feet begin to go to sleep. And as they go to sleep they neglect to let the brain know what is happening. And when the brain isn't getting its marching orders...(literally) it turns it's attention elsewhere.
With shoes on our feet we no longer feel the ground under us. Not only do we have shoes on but we have arch supports, or angled and pointed toes...cue high heels for us women! Remember how bad your feet feel after a day of walking in heels or a night of dancing in them? While you may not wear heels...you do probably wear work shoes, sandals, or even tennis shoes with lots of sole. All of this leads to under used messengers and overused marketing.
What begins to happen? The foundation begins to crumble. What comes next? It simply runs up the frame...to the knees, hips and core. The house begins to fall apart.
Studies show that years of shoe coffins deteriorates the whole body over time.
Growing up going between barefoot and shoes I can definitely say that shoes have been a nemesis. The teenage years and even into our 20-30's we just want the cute shoes. We want to be fashionable. But where has that put our bodies by the time we reach 40?
I'll tell you where. It puts them in pain. The majority of my clients have imbalances, stability issues, weaknesses and down right mobility pain and the feet is where I like to look first.
Here are 10 reasons I have transitioned to barefoot living (sometimes with a barefoot shoe)-
1) NO MORE JOINT PAIN: My desire to be pain free in my joints. Because of that I must look to the feet. I want the frame of my house to move without pain and to do that my feet need to use their messengers.
2) FREEDOM: The more I began to work with clients in my gym the more I realized the freedom we found by taking our shoes off to do the exercises.
3) I AM CLUMSY : Truly! In my gymnastic career we would have award ceremonies for our team. One year I got a blow up body suit...simply because I was so clumsy. So, I have determined to be barefoot to increase my awareness of where I am walking....unless I absolutely must wear shoes and then I wear barefoot shoes.
4) GROUNDING: I love the feel of the grass first thing when the dew is fresh. I love the feel of my garden soil under my feet. I even do my best to traverse rocky areas to toughen up the soles. Direct contact with the earth balances the electrons in your body and improves your health! Check out this documentary: EARTHING-THE MOVIE
5) FOOT HEALTH: Shoes generally cause more problems than they solve usually encouraging an unnatural gait causing up the chain issues.
6) THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL: Feet to me are incredible and beautiful. They get stuffed into shoes for no one to see and sweat and create blisters and friction for no reason other than having on cute shoes.
7) THEY DON'T STINK: Ever take your shoes and socks off after you workout or have walked all day? yeahhhhhhh.....they can smell. Not barefoot!
8) THEY GET GREAT EXERCISE: Inside that shoe coffin they lose touch with reality and forget to work the way they were designed to.
9) IT MAKES ME HAPPY: Happiness has no price tag. If it makes you happy and it's healthy...do it!
10) BECAUSE I CAN: In a world of limits, scrutiny, comparison and unease it makes me thankful that I have capable feet to get me to where I want to go and to do it without any prisons.
Well, there you have it! Convinced? Want to try a little foot freedom?
Join us in The W.I.L.D. BLUEPRINT Facebook group! We talk all about RE-WILDING our feet and our entire lives.
Oh, and you can bet your pinky toe that I just might be putting together a RE-WILDING your FEET course. Stay tuned!
Get STRONG- Stay WILD,