Barefoot in Britain-Shepherdess Alison O'Neal. Phot appeared in the Westomorland Gazette on May 25, 2010. Click here for story
British barefooter Alison O'Neal said it best when she told the British paper The Guardian that:
"[b]arefoot walking is extremely beneficial. It's low impact and it makes you more aware of your movements and your body. It strengthens your back muscles and improves your posture. There are thousands of nerve endings in the soles of your feet that are constantly being stimulated by the changing temperatures and textures on the ground."
Alison walks at least ten miles a day on the fells-that' sort of like the prairie for us folks across the pond; she's a shepherd and lives her life quite freely.
So it's rather funny that a doctor from New York City named Richard Kushner wrongly states what many doctors have stated that “If the foot is too flat on the ground, there’s a clawing effect that happens with the toes.” Dr. Kushner was interviewed by Dana Stevens of Slate Magazine-she's a movie critic who wrote an extra on how she hates flip-flops.
|Slate magazine reporter Dana Stevens|
Well, that's called gripping. Note that every animal which lives outdoors has feet that are well equipped for that.
Clawing engages the toes and thus engages the other 25 joints in each foot so you can feel the ground and move.
Learning to claw is like learning to use our feet as they had "evolved" to be used before they got dis-evolved by shoes.
This one of the first techniques that is taught by barefoot fitness instructor Stacey Lei Krauss, co-owner and founder of willPower and Grace and the willPower Fit Studio in Denver, CO.
|Barefoot Fitness Instructor Stacey Lei Krauss photo by Carolyn of the Daily Obsession|
Stacey teaches these classes all week long and is in quite good shape. She's also a very reputable spokeswoman for Vibram Five Fingers, the famous barefoot running shoes that are tried and true among successful barefoot runners.
Barefoot fitness begins by learning "how to be barefoot", says Stacey-it's something that we need to re-learn after going our whole lives in shoes. Fortunately, learning how is easy. It does take some time to awaken the dormant muscles of the feet and ankles, so do go barefoot more often!