Treat Your Feet RightPosted by Steven Han on
Posture is very important for our overall health. Good posture can improve energy and prevent muscle tension and back pain. Many everyday activities can have a negative impact, including hunched over at a desk all day or carrying heavy bags, but did you know that the type of shoes you wear can be bad for your posture?
Good posture starts from the base. Any shoe that has a raised heel can contribute to poor posture. Most dress shoes, boots, and athletic shoes for men and women have some type of heel lift. Even the smallest lift can affect posture over time. When the heel is raised above the toes, it places the body in an unnatural alignment and forces the body to compensate. The weight is pushed onto the ball of the foot causing the body to lean forward and put pressure on the lower back, hips, knees, ankles and feet.
The problem: Our current environment makes it difficult to walk on bare feet. On asphalt paths and dirty streets, we prefer to pack our feet in sturdy shoes. A conventional shoe not only protects our feet from dirt, cold and wet, it also stabilizes and cushions.
But the normal shoe also takes on many tasks that our foot muscles would actually do on their own. As a result, this is trained less and degrades over time. With barefoot shoes, on the other hand, the feet have to do the work themselves. Since the shoe offers no support function, the muscles are tensed and relaxed with every step.
A barefoot shoe (also called a minimalist or zero-drop shoe) places the ball of the foot and the heel the same distance from the ground. This keeps the body in neutral alignment and keeps the body weight centered on the feet. Barefoot shoes also have wide toes that allow your toes to splay, giving you a stronger base and better balance. This allows you to stand taller and have a more upright posture with correct alignment. This improved balance can make everyday tasks, sports movements, and even walking easier. Good posture helps maintain a healthy spine and reduces the risk of back pain that so many people experience at some point in their lives. Good posture also improves breathing.
It's important to slowly switch to barefoot shoes if you've never worn them. Years of wearing overprotective and inappropriate shoes weaken the feet. A barefoot shoe has a thin, flexible sole that allows the foot to go through a full range of motion, strengthening the feet over time. This gradual transition will help prevent injuries.
Due to the greater strain on the foot and leg muscles, they are constantly being trained. At the same time, the foot has to compensate for all unevenness in the floor by itself, which can also strengthen the foot muscles. In addition, barefoot shoes give the toes enough space to unfold. This freedom of movement can help to keep one's balance and train one's sense of equilibrium.