Good morning and happy Saturday, my Messy friends. Today we have a treat as our guest is author and journalist, Stewart Bint. As so many of our guests here at the Mess, I met Stewart via Twitter and we have had a great connection ever since. I have enjoyed his writing as well as his friendship. You can visit his Stewart Bint's Blog and check out his latest novels and at the end of his post there are links to his books and I highly recommend them.
Stewart is one of those rare finds that is not all about himself. In the writer's world on social media that is sometimes hard to discover. I am glad of our friendship and hope one day Stewart returns to the Mess to talk to us about his writing. He has also stood with us as we speak out against bullies and for that I am quite thankful.
I also want to say a quick "Thank you" to Stewart for joining us today. It's always great to see what others have to share.
I have been following Stewart's barefoot journey on Facebook as well as Twitter and it is obvious he has a passion for it as he travels the pathways of the UK without anything between the soles of his feet and nature. So, settle back with your morning coffee and enjoy a great post about something you may have never thought of before. Perhaps, you'll want to step out of your shoes after reading what he has to say. I know mine are off while I am posting this.
A Passion For A Barefoot Lifestyle
Something very special is happening in the barefoot world between now and August 31st.
An organisation called Amis Sans Shoes is promoting a series of events around the world where people go barefoot for 10 kilometres (6 miles) to raise money for the CARE International UK charity.
As a member of the Society For Barefoot Living, this is definitely a must for me!
It can take the form of a walk, hike, ramble, track event, social run, fell race or competitive road race. Amis stipulates: “No shoes are allowed for any of the 10k – including minimalist shoes, toe shoes, socks, or huararche sandals. The 10k must be done in one walk, hike or run, with at least one other barefooter anytime between March 1st and August 31st.”
|Stewart's Amis entry|
I’ll be walking the 10k in July with a Barefoot Hiking Group that I joined a few weeks ago.
And hey, that’s not the end of the formal barefooting events in the UK. There’s an annual fund-raising event in Robin Hood’s county of Nottinghamshire, where walkers have the choice of doing a 3k (around 1.5 miles) or 5k (3 miles). The organisers say: “Walking barefoot is the most natural thing we do.”
A sentiment I echo 100 per cent, so that’s the 5k lined up for me. Whether it be walking in the countryside, or even in town – along with running cross country or on roads – doing it barefoot is much better for you.
Basically, going barefoot as often as you possibly can is one of the best things for your body and mind – as well as simply feeling great. When you’re barefoot you concentrate more on the immediate environment and the sensations you feel through the soles of your feet. This increased focus clears the mind wonderfully. And official studies show that spending time barefoot increases the release of those feel-good chemicals, endorphins, helping to decrease anxiety and depression by up to 62%. And the medical profession is now recognising other enormous health benefits when it comes to alleviating sleep disturbance, muscle and joint pain, asthmatic and respiratory conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, heart rate variability, and improving immune system activity and response.
I started going barefoot in my teens, simply because it felt so good – and I quickly discovered that freeing the feet frees the mind. There’s a natural connection between our feet and our hearts and minds, and going barefoot, on both sides of the pond, has never been more popular than it is now.
Podiatrists are taking leading roles in the movement, promoting the activity heavily at their consultancies, and even setting up dedicated barefoot walking and running clinics.
Numerous barefoot hiking and running groups are springing up, particularly in the United States, which also boasts the vast majority of members of the Society For Barefoot Living that was established 20 years ago: http://www.barefooters.org/
And here’s their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/societyforbarefootliving/
We all like to go barefoot on the beach…but for many people that is the sum total of their experiences. What a shame, and what a tremendous waste of all those wonderful sensations that tarmac, woodland trails, city pavements and gravel bring. I would like to bet that many of you reading this secretly relish the prospect of going barefoot, but are afraid to take your shoes off and just bare your soles, in case the shoe police pounce.
|Barefoot and happy|
Despite notices often displayed to the contrary, there are absolutely no State laws preventing people from going barefoot anywhere. Stores may have their own policies requiring shoes, but don’t let anyone tell you health and safety prevents bare feet. It does not.
Local Government where I live in the UK told me there are no laws or regulations stopping customers going barefoot in shopping malls, stores, pubs and restaurants. “The choice to go barefoot is made by an individual and is nothing to do with a business or work activity,” they say.
And the council responsible for maintaining thousands of acres of country parks says many of the main paths through these woods and moors are ideal for bare feet, being gravel, tarmac, sand, natural woodland and grass.
So the only real reasons for not going barefoot outdoors are when the weather is cold enough for the danger of frostbite, and indoors where a specific social situation makes it absolutely impossible.
Oh, and by the way -- unless you’re reading this within a couple of days of it being posted, I will have already done my first 2014 barefoot sponsored walk…six miles, on Sunday March 23rd for the national UK charity Sport Relief.
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Stewart Bint is a PR writer, novelist (sci-fi, supernatural), magazine columnist and football journalist. His latest novel, Timeshaft, is available via Smashwords:
and on Amazon:
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