Daniel Liberman, paleoanthropologist at Harvard University writes:
«Whether we like it or not, we are plump and furless primates who like sugars, salt and fats, but we are still adapted to a diversified diet rich in fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, tubers and lean meat. We like to relax, but our bodies are still those of endurance athletes who are willing to walk many kilometers a day and to run often, as well as to dig, climb and carry weights. We love comfort, but we are not well suited to spending the days in an armchair, wearing shoes and staring at a book or a computer screen. “
We fully agree with prof. Liberman on the importance of a correct lifestyle, because healthy nutrition, together with physical activity, are the basis of our well-being. Of course, to do this you need commitment and determination but as with everything, when it becomes a habit, we will no longer struggle!
You know, it is always the moment of change that creates the most unease, because changing daily gestures forces us to abandon consolidated automatisms that are engraved in our mind. Of the aspects indicated in the quote, thinking of the home environment, our attention immediately falls on the shoes worn while sitting on the sofa in the living room. Question: How many of you come in and stay in the house with your shoes on? Have you ever thought about what you trample on the street and what you consequently carry on your floors? We do not want to create alarmism, recalling a study by the University of Arizona that tells us that over 400 bacteria can nest on our soles, and we are not scientists to be able to hold a lectio magistralis on the merits. But to understand that there is everything on the street and that all this will end up on our parquet, once you have crossed the threshold of your home, we find it rather disturbing. We have just returned from a beautiful trip to Japan and we have confirmed that it is natural for them to leave their shoes at the entrance, in the genkan, a space usually lower than the rest of the home. The house should never be contaminated.
And if you go to the bathroom, be prepared for another change, because the slippers you are using at home will certainly not allow you access. There you will find a second immaculate and dedicated shoe!
Returning to Europe, in Finland for example, not only do shoes not enter the house but they do not even enter school. And this applies to both students and teachers. This healthy habit, however, seems not only to affect the “health” of the trodden surfaces but also the psycho-physical relaxation of people. It is used to say “from head to toe”, in reality one should reverse the order and say “from foot to head” and as long as the force of gravity exists, the feet will always “physically connect” us to the space in which we move and we relate. Reflect, the shoes, in addition to not being an element of hygiene, are also a real armor, physical and psychological. We now propose the question previously asked but in a different form: how many of you can’t wait to take off your shoes after a long day spent away from home? So why don’t we learn to take them off as often as we can?
At our house, at a friend’s house, outdoors, finally free to walk barefoot on a beach or on a well-kept lawn, isn’t it beautiful? Walking barefoot is a way to regain possession of your freedom, re-establishing a direct relationship with the support surface, whether domestic or natural. We are in contact with the Earth through the feet, we must not be selfish by forcing them all the time inside coercive shoes. We have a duty to release them as often as we can. Michele and I love walking barefoot on the parquet, because we care about home hygiene and because we perceive a feeling of freedom that life outside the home often makes us lose. And it’s amazing how a physical effect is capable of affecting the psychological and emotional front. And if we have guests, while being aware that it is not easy to invite people to take off their shoes – especially in Italy, a country in which form often prevails over substance – we try to involve others in this habit of ours too.
Because barefoot, it is simply good.