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Go barefoot on cobblestones for a better health

When you walk barefoot on those rounded pebbles you end up employing the entire set of muscles involved in a human stride. This gives a better workout to your feet.

Who doesn't love to stroll down a cobbled lane on a pleasant breezy evening? Walking on paths paved with cobblestones has an old-world charm about it that transports you to a different era altogether. But time travel isn't the only advantage that those stones offer you. They invigorate you and soothe your mind when you go barefoot on them.

Walking on uneven pathways made of these river stones has been part of the old Chinese tradition, probably because the Chinese knew that this exercise has the effect of acupressure on the feet. When you take off your sandals to trot on those stony paths, the acupressure points of your feet are stimulated. Moreover, your soles harbour the nerve endings of many organs. So this practice helps you connect better with those tiny nerves. All these results in pain alleviation, better sleep and other health perks. That's why you have specially-crafted cobblestone pathways in spas these days which offer foot reflexology therapy. The theory that these spas follow is somewhat like this: Walking on these smooth, rounded pebbles activates the reflex points of the sole ensuring smooth energy flow through the body.

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Research shows that a session of barefoot walk on cobblestones is more than just a quick solution to pain. It has other benefits too!

Regulates your blood pressure

In a research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the study participants (older adults) started walking regularly on cobblestone paths. After 2 months, with 3-4 hours of this exercise every week, their blood pressure readings were found to be lower than those walked on regular surfaces or didn't pursue any physical activity.

Amps up fitness levels

When you walk barefoot on cobblestones, you end up employing the entire set of muscles involved in a human stride. This gives a better workout to your feet. The same study observed that, along with the fitness scores, a participant's assessment of his or her own fitness levels also increased with this practice. When you challenge yourself by walking without your sandals on the uneven surface of a cobbled pathway, you have to push yourself for finding balance. This improves your stability and speed, decreasing the effect of ageing, revealed the study.

As you go barefoot

Well, when you walk without your shoes on any surface, here are the few things which you need to keep in mind:

  • Land your heels first as you walk. Take short and soft steps to reduce the impact on your joints and soles.
  • After putting your heel first, make sure that your body weight travels from there to your small toe and then to your big toe. This will strengthen the foundation of your walk supporting your knees and your core muscles.
  • Do not do too much too soon. Start with as much as you are comfortable with. It is okay if you walk slowly without your shoes. But keep your eyes open for soreness or any sort of pain. Ease it off with ice packs.

Read: Why barefoot running is good for your feet (Expert Interview)

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