I’ve always known exercising barefoot was a good compliment to any exercise routine. In college, we spent two weeks in my exercise physiology class discussing converse shoes vs. barefoot vs. running shoes. It’s advantageous for our feet, our joints, our balance, our kinetic chain, and our proprioception (feedback to our brain about it’s location/movement).
Enter last week when we were at our physical therapist’s office. My son is coming back from a knee injury. He wanted my son to play soccer barefoot more often. Which is a good thing, because in the summer I cannot talk any of my three kiddos into wearing shoes :). We’ve been strengthening his glutes so his stationary leg (where the injury occurred) doesn’t take on all of the stress. We’ve been strengthening his core, because our core is the transfer station for everything! But I learn something new every time we are in the office. He needs to run and play soccer barefoot, so his core stays turned on.
You see, barefoot running keeps our core turned ‘on,’ while our cushioned shoes cater to our bodies and encourage a heavier heel strike pattern.
Does that mean we all should start running barefoot? Not necessarily. Don’t fix what’s not broken. To mimic the benefits of barefoot training, you can try walking on smooth rocks, try a rock mat, use barefoot “shoes”, try walking barefoot, or try this Barefoot HIIT workout. As with anything start small and start with something you are comfortable doing. Barefoot exercise works for some — I incorporate it at least once a week. As for my kids, I will be encouraging more barefoot training!
We have quite a few barefoot workouts in the Moms Into Fitness Studio (and certainly, if I’m wearing shoes in a workout, it doesn’t mean you have to). Barre and yoga are great ways to ease into barefoot exercise, if you aren’t familiar.
Barefoot Squat & Kick
Perform a light squat, using your abs to kick below hip height.
Repeat for 30 seconds.
Concentrate on your core pulling one knee into the chest, switch. Aim to keep your lower back on the ground. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Barefoot Squat & Twist
Place your hands behind your head and drive your knee to your elbow. Squat, then switch sides. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Swim your arms forward. Softly bend the knees every time you swim. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Barefoot Low Impact Burpee
Squat jump up – jump your feet backwards into a plank position – inchworm your hands back to starting position. Land softly. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Barefoot Repeater Knee
Use your abs to draw one knee up. Repeat each side for 30 seconds.
Start in a side plank position. Twist your torso towards the floor as you raise your hips. Repeat for 30 seconds.