Author Topic: 1. Walking [and barefoot] - MN Updated  (Read 2479 times)

Offline Gregg HIPK

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1. Walking [and barefoot] - MN Updated
« on: November 30, 2009, 12:55:48 PM »
I'm trying to update the info on walking in Hebert's "Practical Guide to Physical Education". This is the first of 8 or 10 or 12 threads I plan to start. I'd like to focus on how to IMPROVE.

How can I walk more efficiently, faster, on any surface, in any conditions?

Barefoot conditioning start with walking. Most of the stuff I'm finding is blogs, forums, fluff articles etc.
Here's some stuff from FAQ: [summarized]:

HOW SHOULD I WALK? Place most of your weight on the balls of your feet (the pads in the front behind your toes) rather than your heels.

Heels are rigid and many people slam them into the ground, shocking the legs and knees. Instead, while you should still make your heels touch the ground first, you should shift most of your weight forward onto the balls of your feet. The balls are flexible and will mold to the contour of the surface; they also have a wider surface area to better distribute your body's weight. Once you get used to walking this way, it will become natural for you.

Always step down and never slide or shuffle your feet. If you step on something uncomfortable or sharp, you will notice before you place your full weight down. Sliding your feet puts them at risk of being gashed, getting splinters, etc. Slide or shuffle your feet only when you know the surface you're dealing with.

SPECIAL TECHNIQUE: When walking through prickly, dried grasses, you can put your feet down, but, within the last couple of inches, sweep them sideways in a semicircular fashion. This will knock over the grass and you'll step on the sides rather than the pointy ends. Take extra care when you can't see the ground surface.

HOW CAN I GET MY FEET IN SHAPE? Walk barefoot. Walk barefoot some more. Go barefoot everywhere you can. Your soles, foot muscles, ligaments, and tendons are like any other parts of your body: you have to use them to develop them, otherwise they will atrophy.

Walking on gravel is an excellent way to develop the soles of your feet quickly. A few jaunts daily will thicken and toughen your soles in a few weeks. (It is within the realm of human capability to run barefoot on even the most punishing gravel with little discomfort.) Gregg note: I started with sand/ grass/ pavement, moved to coarse sand, small gravel. I'm a wuss. ;D

PAIN? Watch where you're going! But, despite watching where you're going, you will still step on something uncomfortable eventually. That's life and you just have to accept it.

GLASS? Broken glass exists, but it is not "all over the place". Watch where you're going! But, for the seasoned barefooter with tough, thick soles, most broken glass is not a problem even if you step directly on it.

HOT SURFACES? It depends on how it holds radiation, not just color. Prolonged exposure to hot surfaces can cause burns and blistering; pain is an indicator that tissue damage is not far behind. Through gradual acclimation, one can greatly increase one's resistance to hot surfaces.
- Tip: When you cross at intersections, the white stop-lines are cooler; you can walk on those.
- Tip: Go from shade patch to shade patch, and hang out until the burning subsides before continuing.
- Tip: If you walk briskly, then the time your foot is in the air is enough to dissipate a lot of the heat absorbed during the previous step. Also, if you concentrate on the foot that's in the air, you will be focusing on where the heat is dissipating, not where it is accumulating. This gives you a psychological edge.

BLISTERS? Blisters are caused by continual rubbing in the same spot over and over; while walking barefoot, your soles get rubbed all over and no one "hot-spot" develops. But, should you "over-do" your barefoot training and get a blister, you can follow the procedure below.

[Note: The following does not constitute medical advice. It is only the personal experience of some barefooters and no claims are made that these techniques will work for anybody else. Use them at your own risk.]

Lance the blister with a sterilized needle and squeeze the fluid out. Leave the flabby skin on! If the blister is small, it may "reattach"; if not, it will protect the soft, "virgin" skin under it until it becomes harder. Then, after a few days if it does not reattach, carefully trim it off with a small pair of scissors or a nail-cutter in a chopping manner.

After treating a blister, the the best thing to do, believe it or not, is to walk barefoot more! (You did leave the skin on, right?) Your body will recognize the "need" for thicker skin and this will help prompt the skin to reattach.

A blister, if you followed the above procedure, will get to the point where you don't notice it in under a week. You will still see a "crater" for up to 3 weeks, though.

[Note: The following does not constitute medical advice. It is only the personal experience of some barefooters and no claims are made that these techniques will work for anybody else. Use them at your own risk.]

Sterilize a really good pair of finely tipped, needle-nosed tweezers. Sterilize the area of the foot where the object is embedded. Under really good light, try to locate and grab hold of the object. Pull it out.

Old South African remedy: Warm an empty bottle by filling it with hot water. Press the opening tightly over the skin where the object is. As the bottle cools, the air contracts creating a vacuum and, if you're lucky, the object will be sucked out.

CRACKED SOLES? To prevent cracks, file some of the callus with pumice from the edges only and use skin lotion or Bag Balm* to keep the edges supple. Do it just after you trim your toenails; this is a good frequency. That's all the maintenance bare feet need! * Bag Balm is a veterinary product for cow udders. You can find it in some drug stores?

Offline Ozzi

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Re: 1. Walking [and barefoot] - MN Updated
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2009, 12:14:19 PM »
Awesome stuff G, thanks.
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