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Bodytree Wellness Studio > News & Blog  > Barefoot with Belinda: Tackling the deeper issues that affect the way we move

Barefoot with Belinda: Tackling the deeper issues that affect the way we move

Lower back pain? It could be caused by your feet! Functional Training specialist, Belinda tackles the deeper issues that affect the way we move, often caused in ways that you wouldn’t have even imagined are related.

One of the training methodologies that she strongly believes in is Barefoot Training: training without shoes and being able to connect your feet to the rest of your body and muscles. 

Belinda breaks down the benefits of Barefoot Training, and a fun little flow you can do at home to work on your balance, strength and mobility.

Here are some questions to help us gauge your level of barefoot functionality

• How connected are you with your feet?

• When is the last time you trained barefoot?

• Do you know what “short foot activation” means?

Here are some of the benefits to training barefoot:

Strengthens the stabilising muscles of the foot and ankle and makes them stronger.  Almost 30% of the joints in our body are in our feet. Our feet are the base of support for our whole body. Shoes give a lot of stability and support and can make the foot and ankle lazy, causing knee and back pain from improper foot mechanics. Strengthening the small stabilising muscles of the feet can improve our balance and overall sports performance.

Improves our proprioception which enhances our balance and movement. Proprioception is our unconscious perception of space, our orientation and movement within the space around us. Going barefoot helps us to feel and connect to our environment, developing our balance and natural movement.

Improves total body muscle alignment. Different muscle segments are used when we are barefoot than when we are in shoes, therefore muscle patterns become habitually recruited and strengthened.  Going barefoot improves and strengthens the neuromuscular pathways of the foot and leg, moulding the muscle firing sequences and affect the way we move as a whole.

Allows your arch muscles to develop naturally.  Our arch muscles become weak from not being used as they are supported by shoes.  Weak arches need more support to relieve tension temporarily, but if you go for a flatter or less supported shoe the symptoms remain.  Eventually you end up needing more support but the root of the problem does not get addressed.  This leads to a life of orthopaedic problems. By going barefoot your natural arch muscles develop and avoid these problems.

Increases flexibility and mobility of the foot and gives a much wider range of motion.  By working your muscles around the ankle, you allow for greater dorsiflexion (toes moving closer to the shin), making them stronger and more flexible. One of the benefits is a deeper squat! 

Going barefoot will give you healthier feet overall. Shoes are the cause of most foot problems. Shoes often lead to bunions, corns, athlete’s foot, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, and fallen arches.  People who spend lots of time barefoot do not experience any of these and generally do not even get any callouses.  Research has shown that people before the invention of shoes had much healthier feet.

If the stability and mobility of the feet deteriorate, this affects and changes the ankle, knee, and hip positions and makes them all more prone to injuries.  How many older people do you know who have hip problems?  It could easily stem from having weak feet. Go barefoot now for prevention later!

If you’re feeling a strong impulse to go barefoot right away, hold that thought!

Before you start throwing out your fancy sneakers and thick cushioning footwear, let’s be mindful of a few things first.

Going barefoot isn’t for everybody, and often our feet aren’t prepared to do it either!

We spend a huge part of our lives wearing overprotective shoes – high-heels, narrow toe-box shoes, thick cushioned training shoes.

Going barefoot takes time, effort, and consistency!

You’ll then have to commit yourself to slowly levelling up your game by adding more time and exposure. Imagine yourself as a baby learning to walk all over again, but this time we are more fragile and more prone to injuries.

So book a Functional Training session with Belinda to guide you on your journey to optimum foot health!

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