Fitness Tip of the Week #7, Do you go Barefoot?

Welcome Back for the 7th installment of our Fitness Tip of the Week Program. Here’s another tip that I would recommend you make a habit of during your warm-ups. During your warm-up, keep your shoes off. If you are going for a run, definitely check out some of our warm-up posts. They provide the necessary stimulus to the muscular system to make sure that your body will be moving in an efficient manner. But still, the muscles of the feet need the proper stimulus so they can do their job of holding the foot in its proper alignment so that the impact of running will be dispersed evenly and efficiently.two_feet

Most people tend to buy shoes that “fit” their foot’s anatomical imbalances. There are shoes that are for high arch feet and low arch feet, overpronators, and so on. The foot itself, though, technically should not need a special shoe to have a neutral alignment. While these shoes can relieve foot pain by adding extra support, the body must compensate somewhere else for the change in demand on the foot from the shoe. This lead to pain in other areas of the body, such as knees and lower back.

What if you just made it a habit to spend time in your routines, specifically your warm-up, to give the muscles of the foot various stimulus? Remember Law Number Two: the body will actually change based on the stimulus it receives. This means the foot itself will also change and adapt because of the stimulus to the muscles of the feet. When these muscles are working the way they are supposed to because of adequate stimulus, the obvious outcome is a foot that is aligned to its natural anatomical position. Thus, the need for orthotics to compensate for feet that cant support themselves becomes obsolete. Obviously there may still be some anatomical abnormalities that may exist that may require some specific type of shoe but I feel this would be the exception, not the rule like it is these days.

Much, much more can be said concerning this topic, but I will leave you with that one simple tip, warm up barefoot. The cross-country and track teams at the high school I help coach for have adapted this principle, and I encourage you to give it a shot this week. We have also noticed it has begun to make a difference with the Soccer Teams that we are using this technique with. Girls that normally have some foot issues are not feeling their normal aches and pains.

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