How healthy is barefoot hiking? | WEB.DE

Updated on 06/21/2022 at 16:11

  • Modern man is hardly accustomed to walking without shoes.
  • In fact, we were made to walk barefoot.
  • Barefoot hiking is therefore not only a fitness trend, but also has enormous health benefits for the whole body.

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Hardly anything brings you closer to nature than hiking without shoes. What may seem a little strange to many has many benefits. Because people are actually made to walk barefoot: the soles of our feet have similar sensors to the palms of our hands and need impulses. However, you should not start a hike without unprepared shoes.

Walking barefoot has these benefits

Barefoot hiking stimulates the sense of touch on the soles of the feet and creates intensive contact with nature. You feel wet, fresh grass, sun-heated rocks, rustling leaves, wading through mud and then washing your feet in puddles. It also ensures strong overall body awareness, with the feet absorbing information from the environment.

Hiking without shoes strengthens the muscles, ligaments and joints of the feet and ankles and improves motor skills. The body can move more freely and naturally. It also increases blood circulation in the legs and can help prevent venous problems.

The direct contact with the ground also ensures the detachment of the glued fascias. Modern hiking shoes can give a false sense of security because they allow you to run uphill, downhill, and jump almost too quickly. Over time, kneeling damages the joints in the hips, back, and legs. When you walk barefoot, you automatically walk slower and with more focus.

Hiking shoes make climbing easier with thick soles, but they have a detrimental effect on long-term posture and cause shortening of the Achilles tendons. In addition, when walking barefoot, unpleasant blisters or rubbing cannot occur. The feet form a natural callus and the feet become less sensitive.

Here’s how to prepare for barefoot hiking

Before going on a hike without shoes, you must first get used to walking barefoot. So you can walk around barefoot at home or while exercising, then try a short walk without shoes.

Barefoot hikes are much shorter than regular hikes. Especially at the beginning the feet have to get used to stepping nature, short distances are advisable. In many hiking areas there are so-called barefoot trails, also for children.

At first, it can’t hurt to have your hiking boots in your backpack, in case you realize it’s getting too heavy for your feet. While barefoot walking has many health benefits, it also harbors dangers: It’s also important to watch out for shards of glass on the ground in nature. You should also watch out for thorns, sharp stones or animals.

If you hike barefoot, you should always have bandages, disinfectant, and tweezers in your backpack for emergencies. It also doesn’t hurt to spray your feet with insect repellent.
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