I am going to make a statement. You should be as barefoot as much as possible, and focus on some breathing everyday.
I am not about to dive into a spiritual, esoteric ideal but rather just address some of the benefits of these two practices. The Fact is that many people these days suffer from chronic pain or poor postural positions and many of those positions can be managed or resolved through a little bit of daily practice.
Let me tell you why I think Barefoot and Breathing are important.
Simple science time!!!!
OK, first barefoot. When you are barefoot you are allowing your feet to breath. See what I did there. But the truth is that, when you free your feet of shoes you are better able to articulate the muscles in your foot and allow your arch to establish. Which makes for healthy ankles and better moving joints and muscles. Additionally, your feet have a similar feature to your hands. Like your hands, your feet have what we call a somatosensory response, which is just a fancy way of saying they can tell you where you are in space and how to position your body in relation to the incumbent ground. When we are constantly shoe bound we lose this feedback and also the benefits of stability, spatial awareness and better forms of posture.
So here are a few things to consider when barefoot.
When barefoot, explore your space and step on things that are a bit awkward. Gain that feedback and build a stronger ankle. Also, try these few foot exercises and soft tissue practices to make for a healthy foot.
Tennis/lacrosse ball release.
Static Foot Articulation.
Walking across a beam or object barefoot
Ok, moving on. Let’s talk breathing. I want to get specific on breathing in this instance. Karen, a member of Core Principles asked me to address the importance of it, when lifting weights. First, Let me start with why it is important or why we find it important.
In an ideal world, when we practice breathing, we are looking to draw or pull air into the lower parts of our diaphragm of our body or belly area. Now, many times, we misinterpret forceful breathing and tight abs with full inhalation or expansion of the ribs.
What I mean is that you can forcefully draw air into your belly front to back but may be limited on the sides of your belly and rib cage. When you don’t expand that area into what we call the 360 degrees of your stomach, we are actually not able to access our core as truthfully as we need to.
Which leads me to my next point. With the inability to access and pull air, not only into the front and back but the sides, we are unable to brace our core and keep our beloved SPINE in a safe, locked down position. When the spine senses danger (which has a direct connection to the brain) the body throws its governor into overdrive and limits your ability to do things, like weight lift, and thus preventing you from making gains.
And we all want GAINZZZZZZZZZZZZ……
So, let’s take the brakes off the car and focus on the secret sauce to making us better and making the most gains.
Here are three breathing exercises to prep and access your bodies full breathing capabilities.
Side Lying Hug Breathing
Rainbow Back Breathing
Low Box Seated Breathing
Final Word!!!! I want you to know that you can make gains and be successful in your health and fitness and endeavors without these ideas. You can also manage and resolve pain with these two things. There is no wrong way to breathe or walk. My point is this. If you have the ability to make yourself one degree better and this helps you get one or two degrees better each day, than that will compound to a large interest down the line. Do not hyperfocus on these two things and allow them to consume your training. Train and train smart. Use these practices to compliment your training. Think of them as the sprinkles and cherry on top of your ice cream.
Remember, nothing replaces good training and smart practices. Be courageous, kick your shoes off, breath a little and get better.
Got questions or want to know more, feel free to email us Info@coreprinciples-sc.com or reach out to us on Facebook at Core Principles Strength and Conditioning.