Remember how great it felt to go barefoot as a kid? Well, we’ve got some good news — it’s good for you too! Research has proven that body contact with the earth makes you feel years younger. Here are three ways to get in touch with nature and release your inner child today.
Kick Off Your Shoes
It’s easy to slash the pain and inflammation that make us look and feel older in half. How? Simply walk barefoot outside for 30 minutes a day. When we “ground” (bring our bodies in contact with the earth), we absorb the earth’s free electrons, which neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, says Stephen Sinatra, M.D., author of Earthing ($18.49, Amazon). But all the time we spend indoors reduces that contact, allowing free radicals to go unchecked— and that brings body-wide inflammation that triggers fatigue, pain and more.
Have a Picnic in the Park
“Trees are alive themselves, actually retaining deep reservoirs of free electrons that transfer through touch,” explains Laura Koniver, M.D., a holistic physician in North Charleston, South Carolina. In fact, Japanese scientists have found that spending time around trees lowers aging factors like stress hormones and blood pressure, plus enhances bodily functions like digestion by 55%. Even seconds of direct physical contact (using any body part) imparts benefits. “Sometimes on busy days, I’ll just brush my hand against a trunk as I pass by,” Dr. Koniver says. “Even a short grounding session can improve the body’s electrical balance and make a difference to your health.”
Choose leather soles
Trade rubber- or plastic-soled shoes for a pair with soft leather soles. Why? Breathable leather allows the body to absorb the earth’s electrons, says Dr. Sinatra— enough to dial back the body’s production of pain-causing inflammation by 277%! The result? The neutralization of free radicals that promote aging, weight gain, cardiovascular disease and insomnia, so you stay energized and slim.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.