Have you ever seen someone walk or run barefoot and wonder, why?
Doesn’t that hurt? Doesn’t going barefoot feel weird unless you’re indoors? Won’t it increase your risk of injuries?
A lot of questions must be running through your head! But you’ll be surprised to know that going barefoot anywhere, whether indoors and outdoors, can actually do you good.
Read on to find out the benefits of barefoot running and how you can get into it, too.
The Benefits of Barefoot Running
Biologist Daniel E. Lieberman shared his insights on how wearing cushioned footwear encourages our feet to hit surfaces harder compared to going barefoot. It’s why walking or running barefoot on many types of surfaces offers more benefits compared to cushioned shoes.
That’s also why you see martial artists and gymnasts perform without shoes since doing so will increase their feet’ connection to the ground.
We know that cushioned shoes are meant to add more comfort. After all, they’re cushioned, that’s the main purpose, like how pillows are meant to feel great on our heads as we sleep!
However, unlike good memory foam pillows, cushioned footwear may reduce our balance and functionality. We end up losing our connection to the surface.
There are even more ways barefoot running can benefit you, such as:
- Can increase our proprioception, which is the way we perceive our senses based on the way our bodies move (including our balance and equilibrium).
- Increases our spatial awareness, grounding us and having us feel more connected to the Earth.
- Develop our senses better, becoming present and alert.
- Running and walking barefoot is considered therapeutic and can lift our spirits, reducing stress.
- Can prevent varicose veins in those who are not at high risk of it.
- Reduce body pain through proper posture and more natural movement.
- Strengthen the feet by engaging all the lower body muscles.
- Improves our agility, balance, and overall strength.
- Going barefoot may improve our overall immune system and help us stay healthy, even reducing the risk of heart diseases.
Before You Walk Barefoot
With all this in mind, we understand that using shoes still has its benefits. For example, shoes will act as protective barriers from rocks or other sharp objects from the surfaces you run on.
That’s why there are minimalist shoes that still provide excellent ground connection while protecting your feet. So, if you’re a healthy adult and have no severe medical conditions, it may be worth trying to run barefoot.
If you have any medical conditions or have suffered from a recent injury, it’s best to consult your doctor or a barefoot running coach before attempting to run barefoot. He should give you the go signal before you try running barefoot, as well as help you transition to the new change and recommend good minimalist shoes.
Don’t go barefoot immediately after spending most of your life on cushioned footwear. We recommend that you start slowly and wean off your traditional shoes. You can begin the transition with minimalist shoes, which you can find reviews of from platforms like Happy Barefoot.
As you continue using minimalist shoes, you’ll begin to reap the benefits of barefoot running. Before you do, give yourself some time and feel how your body adjusts to this change. Once you don’t feel any pain or discomfort after a few weeks of using minimalist shoes, you can try going completely barefoot for short periods, working your way up from there.
Besides what’s mentioned above, do focus on walking and running with proper form and technique. Run in safe spaces first, whether on the treadmill or outdoors, with minimal incline and rough terrain.
There are many benefits to barefoot running that many people are not aware of. If you’re ready to take on the new challenge and reap the health benefits going barefoot offers, now is the time to transition to it.
As long as you have a great pair of minimalist shoes and get clearance from your doctor, you can enjoy your barefoot journey now. Good luck and have fun!