30 Day Barefoot Challenge – Learn to Walk Naturally
The month of November I invite you to join me in a 30 day barefoot challenge. A challenge to regain your health, specifically your foot health.
Step 1. Find 20 feet of gravel or rocks. (If you have super sensitive feet, try starting with sand, dirt, asphalt or sidewalks)
Step 2. Walk 20 feet in rocks for 30 days straight. That’s it! If you have only 10 feet of gravel, then walk it twice.
There are 2 major goals of walking barefoot on rocks for 30 days:
- Learning How to Walk Properly Again – Most people walk with heavy heel strikes, straight knees and an overall lack of attention to where their foot steps. Walking on sharp and pointy rocks quickly awakens your need to step softly, lightly and with a mid heel or mid foot contact. At first you may even be walking on your forefoot.
- Invigorating Your Feet To Come Alive – At first you may feel some pain in the bottom of your feet. This “pain” can also be considered information. Over the course of 30 days your feet should feel much less “pain” information and provide much more movement information.
Learn How to Walk
Surprisingly enough, most people walk unnaturally. If you watch closely enough you can see children as young as 2 years old walking very unnaturally due to clunky shoes. By walking on rocks, you awaken your foot to a natural environment and stimulate them in ways you probably haven’t done in quite some time.
As much as modern shoes have tried to improve the natural movement of the foot and the amazing things it can do, it has failed miserably. Some people may feel that this is arguable, but if you look to any other joint, such as the neck, adding support, padding and bracing to the neck would only be used for cases of severe injury. The problem with most modern shoes is that by adding things like extra padding to our heels and boxing our toes into the small forefoot shape of modern shoes all day, our natural gait is changed.
Toes are meant to splay in order to feel and support out body, but in confined shoes, they no longer can do so. If you are wearing traditional clunky shoes, it is like walking around with a small cast on your foot all day. Anyone that has worn a cast for even 6 weeks knows that all the muscles inside the cast atrophy and lose strength. After a cast is removed, rehab is required. This 30 day challenge is the start of your rehab.
There are thousands of nerves housed inside of your feet, just like in your hands. Your feet should be the most common contact you have with the outside environment and should provide you feedback that helps the rest of your body react to touch, pressure, temperature, balance and more. A naked foot provides the best proprioceptive sense to help you knees and hips know how to align and stay injury free.
When your nerves aren’t exposed to new surfaces (rocks) then your feet lose sensitivity precision and the ability to provide reliable information. You may even think that walking gingerly on rocks is painful. Alternatively, natural barefoot walking is invigorating to the nervous system. It improves neurological input to the brain, which not only strengthens your nervous system but also can help combat things such as depression because the brain needs stimulation, blood flow and oxygen in order to keep you happy.
So are you ready to take on the Challenge?
If you are ready to take on the challenge, take off your shoes, find your rocks and get ready to walk! If you are so inclined, take some pictures (see below) and share them with us on Dr. Anderson’s FB page.
The month of November 2015 I will be posting more articles on foot health, walking and running in a natural way to improve and sustain your health!
Video of you walking through rocks (before and after)
Picture of Terrain you are walking on
Soles of feet (before and after)
Toe Splay (before and after)