There are many things that are amazing about little babies but something that catches the eye of most people is their little feet. In fact, there is just something adorable about the miniature sized feet of babies and it seems as if it is one of the most innocent and beautiful parts of their body. You might even say that they are adorable from the bottom of their feet to the top of their head, and the feet are there to prove it.
When little children begin to walk, most parents start to put shoes on them right away. It seems as if this is logical but there may be some reasons why you would want to avoid doing it. That is according to a study that shows there are many benefits to walking barefoot and it can even help with the development of children. In fact, barefoot living can offer a lot of benefits for both children and adults.
When a child is very young, they are developing their sensory system and it helps the brain to learn and adapt to the world around them.
Our five senses, touch, vision, hearing, smell and taste allow it all happen. It seems as if touch, however, is one of the most undervalued of those senses.
Dr. Kacie Flegal is a chiropractor and a member of the international chiropractic pediatrics Association. She talks about two different sensory systems, the proprioceptive system and the vestibular system. They are often overlooked but they are vitally important. When a baby walks barefoot, it helps to develop these systems and boosts the brain function.
Proprioception is the ability to understand the position of the human body, when it is in motion or when it is not in motion. It involves receptors in the muscles, tissues and joints and they work together to signal the brain about where you are in space. The vestibular system, on the other hand, involves our coordination and balance. It is associated with our posture and center of gravity.
In order to have the systems develop properly, the body and mind need sensory input.
That is why it is not always the best idea to allow children to walk around with shoes on. When they walk barefoot, it gives them sensory input into those systems and helps the brain to grow and develop. The feet are absolutely designed for that purpose because they are equipped with neurological connections and multiple sensory cells.
When a child walks with shoes on, they don’t have that tactile feedback that is sent through those sensors after they are stimulated. We are often concerned that the children’s feet will be injured or infected but there is a very slim chance of that happening.
Dr. Kacie Flegal says that motivating the children to walk barefoot can result in strong neuromuscular development and it also improves the balance and coordination as well as our spatial orientation skills. When the feet are stimulated, it develops the brain centers.
“It is obvious that when our little ones are playing in cold or harsher environments, we want to protect them and keep them safe, but with guidance and a soft patch or grass, dirt, or wet leaves available, encourage babies to discover how great it feels to tromp around with naked feet! As a result, you will permit them a great platform for the development of higher brain centers responsible for emotional control, problem-solving, language, social skills, and self-assurance,” the doctor wrote in an article.
Children can benefit from walking without shoes but it can also apply to adults as well.
The neural connections can continue to develop, regardless of your age. If you’re having problems with your balance and orientation, you may want to kick off your shoes every once in a while.
“When was the last time you took off your shoes and walked barefoot in the dirt, the grass, or a puddle of water? Encourage yourself along with your children to explore, play, and be free to let the world tickle your senses! Not only does it feel amazing to intimately connect with the earth beneath your feet, but walking barefoot can whisk you back to your own childhood, where you can re-experience the world as a new and exhilarating place…just as babies do!” the doctor concludes.
In other words, take off your shoes and enjoy running around barefoot every once in a while.