Ever try working out without shoes? Doing exercises without shoes will strengthen your foot muscles, but please, be careful!
If you work out in a public gym or any other environment that’s likely to be not so hygienic, doing so barefoot is not much of an option– unless you’re ok with picking up all sorts of fungal infections. Tossing the shoes when at home, however, turns out to be a pretty good choice. The human foot is designed to function pretty well without the need for expensive shoes that claim to give you extra support, and in fact, you may even discover that you perform better without them.
The frequent use of shoes weakens muscles in the foot that provides natural shock absorption and reduces proprioceptive detection, the ability for our feet to know where they are and what they are doing. No matter if you’re lifting, jumping ropes or practicing yoga; consider transitioning to a barefoot routine for greater balance, form, and improving muscle alignment.
We ask a lot of our feet, and even more so when we undergo the physical exertion of a well-planned exercise routine. Your foot needs attention just like every other part of your body and if you’re going barefoot, it helps to strengthen the muscles that footwear has pushed into dormancy. Try to incorporate these tips into your shoeless routine:
- Stretch your toes out by extending them out straight and curling them back in. Try not to move the rest of your foot when you do this.
- Same as above, but this time keep your toes straight as you point your entire foot forward. Slowly return your foot to the upright position after holding for a few seconds.
- Stand in place and rise up on your toes. Slowly lower yourself down and repeat. You can try walking around on them too.
- Rotate your ankles, alternating between clockwise and counterclockwise motions.
- Stretch out your calves with lunges and kneeling stretches. After all, it’s all connected.
- You shouldn’t be dropping weights on your feet with or without shoes, but I’d wager that you’d rather have shoes on if it happened. Take extra care when changing out weights.
- There’s nothing quite like stepping on a piece of glass or hard stone while at the peak of a military press. Make sure your environment if cleared of any debris that you or someone else may have tracked into your workout space.
- Keep a towel on hand to dry up any sweat that might make the floor of your workspace slippery.
If you’re feeling any soreness or muscle tightness in your feet following your workouts, try a deep tissue massage of the sole, heel, and ball of your foot. As the muscles in your feet strengthen, you should see a marketable improvement in your performance and much greater stability than you’ll get with thick-soled shoes.