Do you know why you need to stimulate your feet?
Why does barefu address a need that YOU don’t even know you have?
“Why it is necessary to stimulate the feet ?” is one of the most common questions we get when we start talking about the barefoot. Once you understand our point, the next question comes: “how often?” And if you happen to know what barefoot / barefoot shoes are and maybe even wear them, then explaining is even more difficult for us. How is it possible? Let’s do it step by step:
Why is it necessary to stimulate the feet?
Our feet are closed all day in shoes that more or less limit their natural functioning and range of motion. This means that we do not involve all the muscles of the feet and body intended for walking and standing. On the contrary, we compensate by involving muscles that are not intended for long-term use while walking. The result is overloading of certain parts, poor posture and possible deformations or pain.
The home interior is for most people the only place where they are willing to take off shoes. However, flat hard floors do not offer us sufficient stimulation that would force us to engage and train all leg muscles. The brain quickly evaluates the surrounding surfaces as safe, and we continue our all-day “shoe style”. However, this is different from conscious barefoot walking (for example on stones). In doing so, we are forced to engage all the muscles of the feet, parts of the legs and also the abdomen. It is the change to conscious barefoot walking that is very important. Tromping is eliminated, which causes that our joints and spine suffer, and more muscles are involved and trained.
Have you ever wondered how much time you spend on your feet during the day?
And how much time do you devote to your feet a day – to exercise, relax or stimulate them?
Do you think it’s enough?
If we want our legs (and joints, muscles, or spine – the body is a connected complex) to serve us for many years, we should not forget to train them and keep them in good physical condition every day!
How often do I need to stimulate my legs and what are my options?
Every day and possibilities are many.
Imagine you would have your hands closed in rigid mittens during the day, and when you get home you would be just clickink at computer or press buttons on the remote control. Limited movement and insufficient stimulation during the “free” time would lead over time in deformities, muscle atrophy and, paradoxically, muscle overload, which compensate for the lack of hand use.
Also, flat hard floors do not offer enough stimulation to move the feet, so walking barefoot indoors is not enough. The easiest way to stimulate our feet is to go out and walk barefoot. The variety of surfaces and the possible “danger” (rocks, bees, glass, psikes) keep our feet and senses alert. The feet are forced to balance and adapt to unevenness, avoiding the rocks by contracting or stretching. During a short walk on various stimulating surfaces (grass, rocks, sand, concrete), we will train and engage more muscles than during the whole barefoot evening at home. Physiotherapists also recommend movement on stimulating surfaces outside as part of the prevention of foot problems and to warm up and strengthen the feet.
It is possible to exercise or stimulate the feet at home. Various balance aids are used for this purpose – to involve the muscles of the whole body. Sensory rugs and accessories can stimulate individual points on the bottom of the feet. However, an important factor of these training aids is the fact that it is necessary to find TIME for exercise and spend additional ENERGY (watch out for the effect of a stationary bicycle used only to store things!).
Another possibility of stimulation in the interior are surfaces that do not require extra time and energy for exercise and stimulate the feet during a natural movement around the space. However, safety is a very important aspect of this option. After all, a person can move around even in poor lighting conditions, in complete darkness or with full hands, and does not always perceive what is on the floor. The health conditions of the users and their abilities must also be taken into account. It is the combination of design, stimulative function and safe use that is combined in our barefu DOTS.
Is it enough to stimulate your feet on the beach during your summer vacation?
Walking barefoot on a pebble or sandy beach is great and for many people it is the only public space where they are willing to take off their shoes. However, you need to be very careful not to overdo it!
Imagine you have your hand in plaster all year and when they put it down, you directly go to a two-week volleyball tournament. You could very easily overload your hands and get injured.
Even a half-hour barefoot walk on the beach can mean too much strain for an untrained and unstimulated feet and thus the possibility of overloading or even injury. Just for the feeling of freedom and the possibility of walking barefoot on vacation, we should practice our feet and keep it in good condition throughout the year :).
I wear barefoot shoes – do I need to think about further foot stimulation?
It is true that minimalist shoes allow the feet to work as if it were barefoot. However, the several-millimeter sole doesn’t allow full use of all the neuroreceptors and to truly perceive the surface we are walking on.
A completely bare foot feels much more than a foot in any shoe or sock.
Minimalist / barefoot shoes are great and we think that most shoes should follow its criteria. However, if we wear them mainly on flat hard surfaces, then in conjunction with the sole, which filters out delicate unevenness, we get to the scenario of safe home floors – our feet are not forced to work much and we tend to get back to our learned “shoe walking style”.
Switching to conscious barefoot walking is easiest when a person is completely barefoot, which is why we recommend walking barefoot as much as possible (also when you are a barefoot shoe enthusiast). In this way, we train our feet, strengthen them and more and more include conscious, careful walking into our movement patterns. And it’s also possible to really perceive slight changes in surface temperature or humidity – will you also try it!?
What is the goal of barefu?
The aim of barefu is to be a guide in the exciting exploring of conscious and careful movement. Offer advice, products and services that will lead you to a conscious and responsible transition to barefoot. This is the key how successfuly start to use our feet more and learn how to move it properly.
About the author:
Hi, I’m Mgr.art. Eva Mazancova, ArtD. It may seem from all those academic degrees that I paint whole days or even heal paintings but the truth is elsewhere. The translation of my degrees is an interior designer who has done her doctoral research in the field of design. In my research, I combined my passion for barefoot walking and design with respect to humans. Thanks to the support of people from my surrounding, I decided that this barefoot journey does not end with graduation – and so barefu was created, through which we try to raise awareness of the need for a gradual transition to barefoot and the importance of barefoot walking in everyday life. We try to show people that this change can be creative, interesting, stylish, but especially not demanding any extrra time or energy!
(Apart from the barefoot, I’m also the mother of 3 little boys, the wife of a great guy, a cyclist and a community activist – so if you find that the articles are growing slowly, you’re right – I can’t keep up :D)