Five ways to move better barefoot

Five ways to move better barefoot

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At Barefoot Junkie we believe a big part of achieving and maintaining good health comes from the way we move, not just in quantity but in quality. That’s why we love Vibram FiveFingers, they help us to move in a more natural way.

Our bodies have evolved over millions of years to walk, run, climb, lift, throw, push, pull and feel in hundreds of different ways. Much like eating a wide variety of foods for a healthy diet, moving in a wide variety of ways is essential for a healthy body.

It’s also important to move in a more natural way, the way our body has evolved to. Free from the restrictions many modern training and running shoes place upon us.

How to move better

At the start of each year we all look towards doing things a little differently. The top 4 most popular New Year’s resolutions all revolve around health, with exercise being the primary goal for 38% of us. So, if you’re thinking about joining a gym, using your gym more or even starting something new like running or hiking, here are our top 5 ways to help you move better this year.

1. Don’t rely on things that help us put in less effort

We humans have become very clever at inventing ways to make it easier for us to move less. We have cars so we don’t have to walk, chairs so we don’t have to stand and even car boots that close themselves to save us the bother of doing it for ourselves.

Why not start this year by finding ways to not only move more but rely less on machines or any other form of technology. Allow your body to do more of the work so you learn to move in a more natural way.

  • Park your car and get walking! Where possible try to walk instead of drive. Even parking your car further away from your destination can help. It’s good for the environment too.

  • Use fewer machines in the gym. There are a large array of machines in every gym that make it easier for us to exercise. Instead of sitting down to perform a certain exercise at your favoured gym machine might there be a different way to perform that exercise without the machine?

    Just standing up to exercise, for example, requires much more muscle recruitment than sitting. Muscles in your hips, core legs and feet all have to activate to help you balance. Some exercise machines are designed to help you perform certain movements correctly. By taking the machine away your body has to learn to move better on its own which is not only great for your muscles but great for your brain too.

    You can try using fewer machines at home too. When was the last time you washed your car by hand with a bucket and sponge?

  • Kick off your shoes. Have you ever had that feeling at the end of a long day when you can’t wait to kick off your shoes? This desire to kick them off is partly because many shoes squeeze our feet into unnatural shapes and give us support while we move. But your feet are already brilliant on their own! They have everything within them to provide state of the art support. So free your feet and enjoy the liberated and natural feel. Aim to go barefoot more often, this will help to strengthen your feet.

    Our range of Vibram FiveFingers are designed to allow your feet to behave like feet and learn to support themselves again.

2. Wake up your senses!

We have thousands of nerves running through our bodies, all there to tell us where we are in space (something called ‘proprioception’) and how to move better. As well as this they provide sensory perception, letting us know when things are hot or cold, soft or hard, stable or unstable.

Each one of our feet contain over 7,000 nerve endings, no surprise really when you consider they’re usually the only part of us connected with the ground. These nerve endings are constantly supplying our brain with information enabling us to move the rest of our bodies effectively and efficiently. This is assuming we allow that all to happen.

Imagine how restrictive it would be to wear thick gloves all day, they would prevent lots of important information from getting through. Imagine the urge to take them off!

When we wear shoes with thick soles and lots of support, our brains have to rely on less sensitive parts of our body, or make a best guess at how to move effectively. This can contribute to us moving in ways that could cause injuries, short or long term.

By kicking off your shoes you can give your feet and body more opportunity to feel the way our bodies have evolved to move and feel for millions of years. A more natural way, a better way!

Our Vibram FiveFingers will help you do that. Our thinnest sole is only 3mm thick and the same thickness from heel to toe. This gives those nerve endings a better chance at doing their job, telling you how to move better whilst providing a little protection from the elements at the same time.

3. Treat your body as a whole

Even though the human body has over 800 muscles they are interconnected, part of a complete system. You can see this connectivity in action when you run, walk, climb, throw, stand up and many other movements we all make on a daily basis. For example, watch a runner, even though they will use their legs and feet they also use their arms, torso and even their head to help them move more efficiently. Running is a total body workout.

So, in order to move better try to move more of your body at once, choose exercises that help you move the way nature intended. The way we move every day. This applies to your feet too.

Our feet each contain 28 bones, 30 joints and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. In order for them to move better make sure you’re not wearing anything that gets in the way. The Vibram FiveFingers are truly foot shaped! So all those muscles and joints can move better, including all 5 of your toes, essential for improved balance and grip.

4. Teach your body to change

Our bodies are very clever at adapting to whatever we do with them the most. Use a bike more and we adapt to becoming better cyclists. The muscles in our legs and buttocks strengthen to help us pedal, our core strengthens to help us become more stable. This really applies to anything we do repeatedly.

It also applies to things we don’t do. The more time we spend sitting in a chair, for example, the more our bodies adapt to that lack of movement. Our hamstrings at the back of our thighs become shorter, our core and buttocks weaken and our posture can change.

Your feet are really no different. Move them less and they become less moveable.

Try this; take off your shoes and socks and while standing and see if you can lift each toe off the ground one at a time.

Someone who spends a large amount of time wearing shoes will find this almost impossible to do yet someone who spends more time barefoot will find it as easy as wiggling their fingers.

In order to move better in lots of different ways, we need a wide variety of exercises. We should free our bodies from restriction in order to teach them to change. We all know a healthy diet relies on a variety of different foods and the same applies to movement.

So, mix it up and try something new.

5. Enjoy yourself!

This one should really go first because we will never stick at anything if we don’t enjoy it.

Make this year the year you strive to try new ways to move or ways you haven’t moved for some time. Enjoy a rich palette of movement and allow your body to do it naturally, with little or no support. But beyond anything, ENJOY YOURSELF!

Vibram FiveFingers offer all the benefits of being barefoot without totally being barefoot.

They allow your feet to move better and feel better.

Vibram KSO Evo ImageIf you’re considering dipping your toes in the water (see what we did there), most people start with something like the KSO-Evo which are perfect for the gym and most exercise.

However if you want to take your feet out running, cross country trekking or hiking why not get in touch. We’d be more than happy to find the perfect fingers for your feet.

1 comment

Karen Gabriele

Karen Gabriele

I already use vibram for Pilates. What would you suggest for gym and dance. I do have osteoarthritis in both knees and balance issues. Thank you

I already use vibram for Pilates. What would you suggest for gym and dance. I do have osteoarthritis in both knees and balance issues. Thank you

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