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Health benefits of walking barefoot on sand

By MYLENE MENDOZA-DAYRIT, The Philippine STAR Published Mar 26, 2024 5:00 am

Summer is officially here. And there is no excuse a Filipino can give for not visiting at least one beach this summer. We are not only an archipelago or a string of 7,641 islands; the Philippines is blessed with many beautiful beaches with varying features and various sand colors — from powder white to pink, gray, or black.

You have probably heard of the term “earthing” and the many health benefits it brings. Walking barefoot in sand is not just for kids. The simple act can be liberating.

Kicking off your shoes can help you be “grounded” and get you reacquainted with your feet. When we are shoe-less, our feet get direct contact with the ground and its changing terrain. The adjustments our feet make affect the alignment and functioning of our whole body. Many say that the bare contact of our feet with nature brings about peace and joy.

Can you spot the people walking barefoot on white beach with slippers in their hands? The powdery fine white sand is popular for not absorbing the heat of the sun allowing a pleasant stroll.

While it needs further study, some say that walking barefoot on the beach allows the flow of electrons from the Earth into our bodies. This brings about antioxidant effects that promote immunity.

Initial studies also indicate that walking barefoot on sand may help alleviate pain relief from back and heel discomfort. Experts note that this could be due to natural foot motion and distribution of weight.

The positive distraction of the natural beauty of your surroundings allows you to walk longer both in minutes and kilometers.

We are already aware that walking helps in weight management and cardiovascular health. The effort is increased when we walk barefoot in the sand. Our foot sinks naturally with every step and it takes more effort to pull out of the sand just to sink again with the next step. Foot health is also promoted since natural foot positioning without the restriction of shoes is allowed. 

Connecting with nature through all the senses happens when you walk barefoot on the sand. Your feet feel the fine grains of the sand while your hair is gently blown by the wind. You hear the waves crash and your skin is kissed by the warm rays of the sun. Your eyes get lost in the kaleidoscope of blue skies, azure, and light emerald waters on your horizon. The experience bathes you in joy and peace.

Enjoy beach volleyball with bare feet on sandy courts under the sunny skies.

Some say that walking barefoot in the sand helps improve circulation. The sand gently stimulates the reflex points of the feet to improve it. The positive distraction of the natural beauty of your surroundings allows you to walk longer both in minutes and kilometers. 

Since I was just in Boracay, here are a few of the many beach strips you can access for barefoot walks on the sand. Just be careful not to step on anything that will hurt your feet. For that reason, some choose to walk closer to the shore. Experts say that you need to walk barefoot on sand for at least 15 minutes to reap benefits. That means a one-mile or 1.6-kilometer walk at a moderate pace. 

There are 17 beaches in Bora and 12 of them are visit-worthy. 

White Beach in Boracay, facing westward and known for beautiful sunsets, is about 4 kilometers long. The eastward 2.5-kilometer-long Bulabog Beach lies opposite White Beach and is more popular for windsurfing and kiteboarding.

Puka Beach is 800 meters long at the north tip of the island. The sand is a little more coarse since bits of corals are mixed with it. Watching the sunset while walking barefoot could be more peaceful here since most people will be in White Beach.

Dawn breaks at Diniwid Beach, painting the sky in tranquil hues.

Diniwid Beach is a 280-meter stretch at the northern end of White Beach with sunset views less the crowd. This is where Microtel Boracay is.

The 500-meter-long Tambisaan Beach has the most marine life, hence best for snorkeling. Ilig Iligan Beach, located on the northeastern coast, is a quiet stretch of powdery white sand with calm waters for swimming.

Balinghai Beach is a small beach that you can only access during low tide through Balinghai Beach Resort. Banyugan Beach is enclosed by two rock formations and is only accessible via the Shangri-La Resort. Punta Bunga Beach is the 400-meter-long beach fronting Shangri-la, Movenpick, and Ecovillage resorts. Lapuz Lapuz Beach is on the island’s east side and is only accessible through the Fairways & Bluewater Resort.

To go from one beach to another, there is a Hop-On Hop-Off (HOHO) service, which you can avail of if you do not wish to hire a shuttle or an e-trike. Included in the drop-off and pick-up points are Tambisaan Beach, Bulabog Beach, and Puka Beach. White Beach is accessible via many stops from Stations 1, 2, and 3. If you look at the HOHO map, you can see that the air-conditioned buses run from one end of Boracay to the other end spanning the whole island, making almost all of the beaches accessible.