Oct 28, 2014

Barefoot Workouts : The Good and The Bad

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Yoga, Pilates, Barre, boxing and even running all encourage people to workout with bare feet. But what about our expensive (and cute) shoes that support our feet and ankles to protect us from injury? I've been teaching Barre for the past 5 years and in all of my classes, I've always gone barefoot (or with these cutie sox or these super cool studio wraps). It's got me thinking, is it good to constantly workout with bare feet or do my feet need a little more support? Today I'm giving you the pros and cons to exercising barefoot...

The Good:
  • Shoes can alter the foots natural strike with the floor causing injuries like planar fasciatis and shin splints
  • Barefoot exercise strengthens the arches and muscles in the foot and ankles (if you don't use it, you loose it)
  • You can "feel" the floor beneath you improving balance
  •  Increases flexibility and mobility of the foot 

The Bad:
  • Exercising barefoot can cause injury if the feet and ankles are not strong enough
  • You have to build up callouses for outdoor running... ugly
  • There's no cushion between you and a hard floor (like concrete) 
  • You might step on something like a pebble or glass... ouch.

I always encourage my students to exercise in whatever way they feel most comfortable. But, if you've never exercised with bare feet before, it's time to give it a try. Barefoot exercise is the best way to strengthen your feet and ankles and since this area of the body is the foundation of everything else, strong feet can lead to a stronger body. 

Getting Started:
Like every other part of the body, start slow and work your way up. Also, keep in mind what kind of surface you're exercising on. I recommend starting out with a low impact workout (like barre, yoga or Pilates) and as you get stronger, try more high impact workouts (like running) on grass or sand.  Oh, and skip the callous removal on your next pedicure (wink, wink).
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