The benefits of walking barefoot

Footwear can hinder one from benefits that come with walking barefoot. 

Also called “earthing” or “grounding,” the simple act of walking barefoot offers so many benefits that often get overlooked by society, pushing the importance of wearing shoes at all times.

 

One study showed that grounding helps one get a better night’s sleep. The contact with the earth helps to stabilise and reset the natural everyday rhythms in the body. Another study showed that walking barefoot can help strengthen the immune system. White blood cells seemed to go down while red blood cells seemed to increase which hints to better immunity.

 

A study in PubMed revealed that walking barefoot influences physiologic processes as well as inducing relaxation. It has also been shown that people who had been exposed to grounding have better sleep at night when compared with those who did not walk barefoot regularly. This is because walking barefoot helps stabilise daily rhythms, which is the first step to better sleep.

 

Some studies have shown that walking with feet directly touching the soil allows the body to absorb negative electrons through the earth, which helps to stabilise daily cortisol rhythm and create a balanced internal bioelectrical environment.

In a recent study, medicine practitioners affirm that the electrons present in the earth help enrich the immune system in the body. In addition to enriching the immune system, earthing increases the oxygen levels of the body, thus, helps reduce chronic or acute pain in the body.

Scientists note that walking barefoot neutralises free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that damage cells.Net  photos

The study also shows that shoes are having a negative effect on the feet. The feet muscles are weaker than ever because of shoes and soft surfaces that don’t cause the feet to be flexible and strong like they once were. This is one of the reasons for bad posture, because people are reliant on other muscles to do the job that their feet are responsible for.

“Other benefits of walking barefoot include; better control of one’s foot position when it strikes the ground, improvements in balance, proprioception, and body awareness, which can help with pain relief, better foot mechanics, which can lead to improved mechanics of the hips, knees, and core, maintaining appropriate range of motion in the foot and ankle joints, as well as adequate strength and stability within the muscles and ligaments, relief from improperly fitting shoes, which may cause bunions, hammertoes, or other foot deformities and stronger leg muscles, which support the lower back region,” states Healthline. 

Some of the science-backed benefits of grounding are; it regulates cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone (better regulation means that one recovers from stress quickly, instead of feeling anxious long after the stressful event). 

But also, scientists note that walking barefoot neutralises free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that damage cells, it also reduces inflammation, lowers some risk factors of cardiovascular disease, reduces pain and shifts the body from the stressed fight-or-flight mode to the restorative rest-and-digest mode. 

In the comprehensive report published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health, researchers found that walking barefoot can actually decrease white blood cell count and increase red blood cell count. This outcome indicates a positive immune response.

According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, earthing or walking barefoot increases the surface charge of red blood cells. This results in the reduction of clumping in the cells, which, therefore, decreases blood thickness. Since high viscosity has been directly linked as a risk factor in heart disease, earthing, therefore, reduces the risk of heart disease significantly.

Walking barefoot has also been recognised to lessen the severity of menstrual cramps.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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