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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Work out barefoot for better flexibility

Roma Arora, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 17, 2011
First Published: 20:23 IST(17/12/2011) | Last Updated: 00:39 IST(18/12/2011)

There’s something that the fitness world is abuzz with. So while you may have invested in the best of gymming shoes, here’s what health experts indicate for coming times. Barefoot running, dancing and exercising in the gym is the talk of the town. Fitness experts, yoga instructors and aerobics instructors are forseeing it as a big trend in the coming days.

“Aerobics and yoga benefit you more when done barefoot. It results in better execution and flexibility of the movements,” says aerobics instructor Shallu Sinha.

RunningConnecticut-based fitness instructor Ellen Barrett teaches a mixture of Pilates, yoga and dance, and conducts all her low-impact classes barefoot. “I’ve been teaching barefoot forever. Shoes give you a false sense of a platform. You don’t connect to ground,” says Barrett.

For starters she suggests going barefoot around the house or performing the elementary exercise of pointing and flexing the bare foot 10 times. “So goes the foot, so goes the body. If your foot is balanced and strong the rest of the body is too,” says Barrett. “That connectedness between foot and core and balance, that core connection, that’s ultimately what balance, is,” he adds.

Dr Rajat Chauhan of Back 2 Fitness, says, “Walk on your lawn a few minutes a day as it doesn’t seem practical to walk barefoot on Indian roads, given hygiene and safety issues.”

Shoeless for 12 years, Colorado-based barefoot fitness instructor Stacey Lei Krauss says, she has taught thousands to exercise unshod. “Being barefoot is better than being in a cast, which is what your shoe is,” says Krauss. “If you’re in a cast your muscles will atrophy and your joints will be stiff,” she says. Talking about the trend, fitness expert Vesna Jacobs says, “Barefoot workouts are getting popular and the reason could be running shoes that have become so over-cushioned off late that they cause the foot muscles to stiffen.”

However, there are also people who feel that barefoot workout may damage the foot, and hence do not completely support the concept. “Shoes provide necessary padding to the feet, keeping them protected and safe. For yoga and meditation, it’s fine but not incase of rigorous exercises,” says Nishi Singh, yoga instructor.

With inputs from Reuters

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