By Tamsin Brown • 23 April 2022 • 17:05
Take your shoes off: The benefits of walking barefoot. Image: FrankOWeaver, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Walking barefoot has plenty of benefits for our bodies, yet they are often overlooked. Here’s why you should spend more time with your shoes off.
Although wearing shoes provides comfort, support and protection, walking barefoot has a range of important benefits for our bodies. Ideally, your feet should have direct contact with the ground for at least a little while every day, if not outdoors then at home.
Walking barefoot helps to stimulate the musculature of the feet, allowing them to be strengthened and toned without being constantly squeezed into footwear, which can cause deformities. The nervous system is particularly sensitive in the feet, and walking barefoot can improve balance and proprioception and is great for stress relief due to the presence of countless nerve endings in the soles of the feet. Finally, having your feet in direct contact with the ground aids circulation and facilitates blood flow to all areas of the foot.
Taking your shoes off when you get home is not only good for your feet, but also for your general health. In some countries, such as Japan or Sweden, it is customary to remove shoes when entering the house. The soles of your shoes are likely to be covered in all kinds of bacteria, which is then transferred to the home.
Remember that going barefoot is generally fine at home, on the beach or on grass, but it is not recommended in public spaces such as gyms, swimming pools or changing rooms, where fungi and infections can spread easily. It is important to practise good hygiene by washing your feet after walking barefoot and before going to bed and keeping them well moisturised.
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Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news.
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