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Kick off your shoes and get grounded

All Areas > Environment > Save the Planet

Author: Hannah Basnett, Posted: Monday, 25th September 2023, 09:00

Who ran around like Mowgli from The Jungle Book as a child? Itching to take off your shoes to play in the summer grass or sandy dunes. Perhaps, at the beach, you still release your toes to intermingle with the grains of sand or allow them a dip in the water. However, when outside, shoes stay on – it’s a rule all adults know and oblige.

So why, much to parents’ dismay, do children instinctively want to discard their shoes? What if there were physical and mental benefits beyond simply indulging our feet?

You might have a dodgy hip, unaligned knee, or an arch support issue. Like many others, you have been to the doctors seeking a solution that fixes the problem. Maybe part of that solution was changing your footwear – a new shoe with more cushioning, more support. But what caused the problem? What if the issue was the shoe in the first place?

Your whole body grows upwards like a plant through your feet. The issue with modern shoes (predominantly trainers) is that they’re “great”; they’re super comfy. However, this comfort comes at a cost – your arch no longer sends signals for your foot to engage, thereby affecting your posture and potentially causing knee and hip problems.

Going shoeless can strengthen your feet

Going shoeless and giving your toes a wiggle can strengthen your feet, allowing your arches to engage naturally and improving overall posture. Additionally, walking barefoot can widen the forefoot, enhancing balance and preventing unnatural squishing that can occur in modern shoes.

Another interesting aspect of barefoot walking is the concept of grounding. This practice involves reconnecting with the Earth’s negatively-charged energy by allowing your feet to make direct contact with the soil. This electron transfer is believed to neutralise positively-charged molecules in the body, known as free radicals.

Free radicals can contribute to oxidative stress and inflammation. The exchange of electrical energy can help balance and sustain overall wellbeing, potentially reducing inflammation and cortisol, improving blood flow, and promoting mental health – a free, natural pain relief.

Why not try grounding? Get outside, take your shoes off, and place your feet on the ground for 10 minutes. If you enjoy it, why not start going shoeless at home or even take your shoes off at the office? Take it a step further by going for a run around a park or hiking barefoot.

Feel a deeper ecological connection with the soil

Start small and practise mindfully, connecting with the Earth. By doing so, you may feel a deeper ecological connection with the soil that fosters all life on Earth.

Ultimately, whether you embrace these benefits or simply enjoy the feeling of being carefree like a child, exploring barefoot walking can be a fun and potentially rewarding experience. So why not kick off your shoes, reconnect with the Earth, and let your feet roam free?

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