I have been a good girl of late. I've gotten myself a new health challenge and as a start I've been going on a walk every day. Some days it's 30 minutes and some days it's an hour and some days I have to take the kids with me but I do it.
And it's not about burning calories. (Though I really hope it helps). It's not even about raising my heart rate much. It's about making my body do what it should naturally be doing. Our bodies were not made to sit in front of a computer, oh no, they were expertly evolved over millions of years to move skillfully around our environment that we might hunt and gather food. Stopping our bodies from moving plays havoc with them.
So why barefoot walk? Lately I've been really interested in learning about how our bodies are connected and it seems that shoes are not as friendly to our bodies as we thought. Yes they can stop your feet getting covered in dog mess or stepping on a nail but they also stop the proper action of our feet which can in turn stop the proper action of muscles higher up the leg, which in turn can even weaken your pelvic floor!
I did my homework with care. I realised that my feet are not used to being out of shoes so I've been braking them in gently. To start with I got rid of my slippers. Then I minimalised my shoes, less ridged cast with heals, more flat with a big toe box and gripping to my feet (flip-flops or thongs mean you have to grip with your toes and produces a very unnatural style of walking). Then I got chilblains on my toes and realised that thick socks in winter are a must and that the next stage would have to wait until spring!
Biding my time I set to look for places to walk. It's not as easy as you might think, I needed lots of grass to start this experiment, my feet are not hard enough yet to cope with rocks or leaves and concrete or tarmac does tend to lead to blisters as the surface is so unforgiving. I've selected 3 fields in the village all within easy walking distance from my children's school (why not use the school run as a warm up I though) and got some good fitting 'croc' style shoes for the bits on pavement (also if I'm honest I wanted to look 'normal' in the playground).
So today I finally decided it was warm enough to take the plunge. Crocs at the ready I took the girls to school and walked down to the village sports field. I recon one round of the field is about 500m (there's a cricket pitch and a football pitch and more large areas of grass besides) and I went around 3 times!
What I learnt - 1) dew soaked grass is FREEZING at 9am in the morning! The muddy bits are much warmer. 2) even very nice dig owners can miss the odd poo (and then still put the poo in the wrong bin!!) 3) the funny looks are not too bad, you don't have to keep explaining yourself. I think most people didn't even notice.
And a plus side is that I have had a really nice buzzy feeling in my feet all morning. And if that is all I get then it is still worth it.
Tomorrow I shall try the SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) nature reserve at the back of the village, it's not as big but there may be things bigger than dog poo to avoid!!