Barefoot rock walking makes your feet strong. It is a wonderful addition to any movement or fitness practice. You can do it in a driveway, garden, beach, or trail. Start with a few minutes each day on pebbles and work up from there. The benefits are considerable:
1. You are giving your feet a three-dimensional work out: bending, flexing, rotating, and balancing. You’re also waking up your soles.
2. Rock walking is like foam-rolling in the wild. It works the fascia and the uneven surfaces of the rocks hit a multitude of pressure points.
3. It’s great for your balance. Most of us walk on manmade flat surfaces all day long. Walking on rocks trains the foot to recognize and deal with imbalances, which are great preventative measure for anyone worried about tripping or falling. That probably includes most of us, young or old, athletes, and otherwise.
4. It’s an ancient practice. Rock walking, in fact, is very common in China where there are reflexology paths, walkways of smooth river rocks usually embedded in concrete, set aside for people to walk on. These reflexology paths can be found in parks, resorts, and private gardens. The rocks are said to stimulate the pressure points in the feet that correspond to different vital organs, muscles, glands, and nerves.
5. Getting your feet out of shoes and onto rocks increases circulation. This is great for preventing varicose veins.
6. It’s good for your posture. A stronger foot creates better overall body alignment.
For more information on walking on rocks and other movement hacks, check out Katy Bowman's blog and podcast at movementnutrition.com. She is a tremendous resource.