Going Bare With Us... Barefoot!
13th June - An exciting date to see if gyms in Singapore will return to normal operation, where we can resume working out and sweating it out in the gym. However, FTI is open throughout this period and we have more opportunities than ever before to tackle the deeper issues that affect the way we move. One of the training methodologies that we strongly believe in is Barefoot Training. Barefoot training is simply training without shoes and being able to connect your feet to the rest of your body and muscles. Sounds simple enough? Read on to find out more!
Here are some questions to help us gauge your level of barefoot functionality
How connected are you with your feet?
When is the last time you trained barefoot?
Do you know what "short foot activation" means?
If you have been to our gym, you'll know that we train you barefoot. WHY? That's because we strongly believe in barefoot training and have all experienced the benefits of training barefoot!
Here are some of the benefits to training barefoot:
1. Strengthens the stabilizing muscles of the foot and ankle and makes them stronger. Shoes give a lot of stability and support and can make the foot and ankle lazy. Strengthening the small stabilizing muscles of the feet can improve our balance and overall sports performance.
2. Improves our proprioception which will improve our balance and movement. Proprioception is our unconscious perception of space and our orientation and movement within the space around us. Going barefoot helps us to feel and connect us to our environment and this helps our balance and develops our natural movements.
3. Go barefoot for stronger ankles and more support. Almost 30% of the joints in our body are in our feet. Our feet are the base of support for our whole body. Often knee and back pain stems from improper foot mechanics.
Artificial support from shoes can place unnatural pressure on the knees, spine, and neck. Our foot mechanics affects our whole posture.
4. Going barefoot improves muscle alignment. Different muscle segments are used when we are barefoot than when we are in shoes and different muscle patterns become habitually recruited and strengthened.
In addition, going barefoot improves and strengthens the neuromuscular pathways of the foot and leg. These molds the muscle firing sequences and affect the way we move.
5. Going barefoot gives you stronger arches. Wearing shoes will artificially raise your arches and directly remove the responsibility from the arch muscles to do their job. Wearing shoes can create a vicious circle with arch support.
First, our arch muscles become weak from not being used, as they are supported by shoes. So you get weak arches and you need more support to relieve the tension temporarily.
But now if you go for a flatter or less supported shoe the symptoms will return. So you end up needing more and more support but the root of the problem does not get addressed.
This leads to a life of shoes and orthopedic problems. Let your natural arch muscles develop naturally to avoid these problems.
6. Going barefoot increases flexibility and mobility of the foot and gives a much wider range of motion.
7. Going barefoot will give you healthier feet overall. Shoes are the cause of most foot problems. Shoes often lead to bunions, corns, athlete’s foot, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, and fallen arches. People who spend lots of time barefoot do not experience any of these and generally do not even get any callouses. Research has shown that people before the invention of shoes had much healthier feet.
8. Going barefoot improves our Chi (Qi) and strengthens the entire body. Our feet are often the only part of us that touches the ground. It releases all of the energy and force that we accumulate throughout our bodies. Going barefoot helps energy to flow smoothly through our bodies.
9. If the stability and mobility of the feet deteriorate, this affects and changes the ankle, knee, and hip positions and makes them all more prone to injuries. How many older people do you know who have hip problems? It could easily stem from having weak feet. Go barefoot now for prevention later!
10. Many athletes who train barefoot have tremendous results and experience fewer injuries.
If you're feeling a strong impulse to go barefoot right away, hold that thought!
Before you start throwing out your fancy sneakers and thick cushioning footwear, let's be mindful of a few things first.
Going barefoot isn't for everybody!
We spend a huge part of our lives wearing overprotective shoes - high-heels, narrow toe-box shoes, thick cushioned shoes like Nike or Adidas sportswear. It's no surprise that our feet aren't prepared to go barefoot! You can't fight a level 10 monster when you're only a level 1 hero, right? 😉
Going barefoot takes time, effort, and consistency!
First, take a few minutes to listen to this:
To master and eventually reap the benefits of barefoot training, you must first understand:
Foot to core sequencing
Spreading your toes and strengthening your arches (to activate your deep front line)
You'll then have to commit yourself to slowly levelling up your game by adding more time and exposure to barefoot time! Imagine yourself as a baby learning to walk all over again, but this time we are more fragile and more prone to injuries.
Watch out for this coming Thursday's Instagram and Facebook post where Coach Issac will show us an interesting single-leg barefoot exercise to add to your barefoot practice.
If you are keen on engaging the help of a barefoot specialist to guide you on your journey to optimum foot health, please feel free to approach us!