- Exercise & Fitness
Foot Health Benefits of Walking Barefoot on Sand
If you are like most people, you spend the majority of your waking hours wearing shoes. Whether you are on the job or exercising at the gym, you probably wear shoes of some kind; you may not be aware, however, that this can actually become harmful to your feet over time. One of the best alternative ways to exercise without shoes is simply walking on a beach. In addition to being relaxing, this can have surprising health benefits for your feet.
General Health Benefits
Walking barefoot in the sand can potentially be beneficial in several ways. First, it allows your feet to breathe and to be conditioned by the sand, which can help improve the health of your entire foot, beginning with the skin. Second, it helps boosts muscular conditioning because the varying sand conditions work stabilizer muscles in the calves and feet. Finally, it is a free and convenient form of exercise; all you need is access to a beach.
Wearing shoes all day long can trigger a frightening number of foot problems. For example, working out frequently while wearing shoes could lead to athletes' foot fungal infections. Or, spending a significant amount of time wearing high heels could lead to bunions or deformed toes. Walking on sand regularly can help give your feet a break from the confines of your shoes, allowing your feet to begin healing.
One of the most dramatic examples of the benefits of walking barefoot in the sand is its impact on the arch of your feet. The arch can suffer tremendously when enclosed inside unsupportive shoes for years. Eventually, for some people, the arch even collapses. This makes it very painful to run or even stand up for an extended period of time, much less do any significant work that puts pressure on your feet. Because the human foot is naturally designed to function without a shoe, enclosing it has a negative effect on its bones and muscle, potentially causing severe degradation. Walking barefoot on sand regularly helps repair the damage caused by shoes, strengthening the arches. If you exercise your bare feet by walking on fluctuating sand conditions, improved blood circulation and muscle conditioning can return to your feet over time.
In spite of the widespread benefits of walking barefoot in sand, you should still be careful of your surroundings when you do so. Wearing shoes has accustomed us to trampling over all manner of terrain without paying attention to its surface. Without shoes, however, some terrain can potentially be hazardous to your health. In particular, you should watch out for any sharp stones, pebbles and glass shards, as well as for any insects or other creatures that could sting you. As long as you use common sense about where you walk, however, you will likely notice a remarkable improvement in the health of your feet once you begin regularly walking barefoot on sand.