The Benefits of Bare Feet
From the energetic to the practical, there are many reasons to go without shoes each day–especially when you practice Essentrics. Since any body movement depends on a strong foundation, being barefoot is essential for the best alignment of your foot, which then allows the rest of your body to align properly while moving into and out of various Essentrics standing movements. Foot imbalances are a common contributor to knee replacements since any imbalances in the foundation of your standing body will contribute to even more misalignment of the connecting joints. Work every muscle, every day, including your feet, to literally pull painful bones apart by strengthening the muscles around them. Our Essentrics testimonials provide many stories of preventing surgeries.
Though properly-fitting shoes and boots are essential for day-to-day activities as well as sports, they prevent the 26 bones–along with many muscles, tendons and ligaments–in each foot from moving and stretching. That lack of movement often contributes to athletes having less-than-stellar performances, and all of us having more injuries, as well as’shuffling’ as we age. If you want to feel and look youthful, work your feet. Our founder, pictured here in bare feet, helped a top figure-skater have more explosive energy on the ice, simply by helping her toes and feet enjoy a stretch workout. But never focus on stretching just one body part; do a full-body Essentrics workout daily to rebalance all of your 650 muscles. They all relate to each other.
There may be anti-stressing benefits to going barefoot, too. Earthing, or grounding, is the practice of walking in bare feet outside to actually feel the Earth, feel the connection. When we wear shoes we are actually insulating ourselves from the Earth with the rubber soles in between us and…our home. Maybe going bare footed will help us care for our Earth more, too.
At home, I enjoy going barefoot in summer, wearing thicker socks only in the winter. Chose socks with grippers if you’re concerned about slippage, but I have found even firm slippers interfere with my foot’s ability to move and stretch a bit as I walk. Therefore, I store my slippers next to the back door for quick trips to gather more wood for our wood stove. I love the feel of our wood and slate floors, feeling the connection to the Earth below, whether it’s in socks or bare feet. My new favorite tidying expert, Marie Kondo agrees that shoes off can help the house stay cleaner–and quieter.
And with summer just around the corner, I highly recommend walking in the grass in your bare feet, before lying down to gaze up at the clouds floating by. The perfect meditation.