In the past I've reported on interesting research that looked at what effect wearing shoes with textured insoles could have on the gait of older people prone to falling. Researchers found that walking with textured insoles caused people to walk slower and more cautiously.
It got me thinking about the benefits of walking barefoot. I love the idea of walking barefoot because it gives our brain the greatest amount of feedback when it comes to position and balance.
When was the last time you walked around barefoot? It might be a good idea to make it part of your daily routine, especially when it's warmer out and you don't have to wear socks or slippers to keep your feet from getting too cold. Try it on smooth surfaces and textured surfaces, as well. Let your brain reconnect with your feet and “relearn” kinesthetic awareness (exactly where your body parts are) so it can make the adjustments and keep you balanced.
And if you ever find yourself on an elevator, bus, train, or subway, you can use that time to perform a simple balancing exercise. Standing on one of these unstable “platforms,” simply lift one foot slightly off the ground and try to keep your balance. To make it easy, you can very lightly help support yourself by holding on to something. To make it more difficult, try closing your eyes.
Now it's your turn: How often do you walk barefoot? And what do you do to practice your balance?