There has been a trend in recent years toward walking barefoot. Skipping shoes can mean a deeper workout and strengthening of the tiny muscles in the feet that are weakened by our dependence on shoes. Barefoot walking can also help relieve pain. As we know from the practice of reflexology, the feet contain pressure points that can alleviate pain throughout the body; walking barefoot helps stimulate these spots.
So walking barefoot is good, but where is the best place to do it? City sidewalks are not exactly sanitary, nor is concrete the most comfortable surface for the feet. Grassy parks are a great option, as are the rubber tracks at local high schools. But one of the best spots might just be the beach.
Walking barefoot on the beach brings all kinds of benefits:
- Sand provides resistance and requires you to use the full range of motion in your feet. The end result is a better overall workout for your ankles, arches, and leg muscles.
- Because more muscles are used when walking in sand, you burn more calories—up to 50% more than walking on a stable surface like concrete.
- Sand is a natural exfoliant. Our feet take a beating, whether in shoes or not. Sand can smooth rough spots as you walk.
- It feels great! Sand on bare feet feels like a massage. Even if you are just sitting and pushing your feet around in the sand you’ll get the same feeling.
- Walking in any natural setting is relaxing and helps reduce stress. Being near the water, with the sound of the waves hitting the shore, is especially soothing.
Whether you are camping, heading to the cottage, or heading south in the winter, be sure to save some time for a long walk on the beach. Your feet and legs will thank you!
(For more tips on barefoot walking—on the beach or elsewhere—read this article from Prevention magazine.)