When is the last time you felt the ground beneath your feet? Fact is, a lot of us probably can’t recall when we went without socks or shoes other than inside our homes. What if I told you that your health could benefit from going barefoot outside? Let’s discuss some of the health benefits of ditching the footwear and exposing those toes!
Our bodies are about 60% water, which is very beneficial when it comes to conducting electricity. The earth's surface has a negative ionic charge and is constantly generating electrons, so when our feet make direct contact to earth's surface it can become a natural antioxidant and help to neutralize bad free radicals. When we neutralize positively charged free radicals, we can reduce general inflammation, detoxify the blood, and sync our internal clocks, hormonal cycles and psychological rhythms.
There are also significant strength benefits you gain from walking around barefoot. When you don’t have shoes on to protect your feet, your feet have to work harder. Hard working feet help strengthen, stabilize and stretch the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your lower body. Strong, bare feet that are exposed to the natural elements generate increased proprioceptive feedback to the brain, creating a strong base of support, core and hips, and effectively leading to a more upright posture. Who doesn’t need that??
Another great benefit of going barefoot is increased mindfulness. When you walk around without shoes on, you are more aware of your surroundings. This awareness helps you focus more on the here and now. If you are not ready to jump fully into the barefoot life, we really love Vibrams, as a great shoe alternative!
Get back to being outside with no shoes on. Literally get outside and connect to mother nature. Feel the sun above you and the ground below you. Just 30 minutes of going barefoot outside in grass, sand, mud, gravel, shrubbery (you get the point) can change your body’s chemistry and will help build a healthier mind, body and soul. Keep it simple and BE MORE HUMAN!
December 1st, 2018 I ran my second half marathon. Unlike my first half marathon, I was wholly unprepared other than doing our gym’s Crossfit programming 4-5 days a week. I’m 32 years old and 2 years off of reconstructive Achilles tendon surgery, so my expectations were to just finish the race. As it is, I was able to improve my time by over 10 minutes with no distance running training. I truly believe the mental component of distance running is where my CrossFit training really took over. Prior to Crossfit, not only would I not finish the race, but I would never of had the guts to enter it. Day in and day out, Crossfit programming and it’s community fosters mental fortitude and a willingness to dive outside your comfort zone to achieve personal bests.
I was able to achieve a personal best for 13.1 miles thanks to this component of Crossfit. The body is an amazing machine, and if you can train the mind as well, you will be surprised at the things your body can, will, and should do. This isn’t true just for me; CrossFit District 5 had 4 other athletes that completed their first or second half marathon with competitively average times and no real training outside of CrossFit. Probably most impressive though, is a member of ours who ran and completed her first half marathon at less than a year postpartum. She completed training with Fleet Feet in Winston Salem, NC as well as CrossFit 5 days a week.
Distance running is a great equalizer. It is one of the most even playing fields for athletes of all ages. I was very inspired by the men and women likely close to twice my age that ran past me during the race, and the ones that were pushing my pace the last 3 miles. Like CrossFit, the running community is a positive and motivating experience, because when like minded individuals join together to complete a hard task, bonds are created and the reward is unmatched. Hugging complete strangers at the finish line, receiving pats on the back and small words of encouragement from passers are all reasons why COMMUNITY sets us apart. CrossFit has helped me train my mind to a point where I will try (almost) anything with a sense of comfort, because I know how to feel uncomfortable and I know it well.
Shout-out to Fleet Feet for hosting a great event and all the District 5 coaches and athletes that joined in the distance running fun. We can’t wait to crush the Mistletoe Half-Marathon again next year!