Why you shouldn't wear slippers while you're working from home
You might want to give your working-from-home uniform – sweatpants on the bottom, Zoom-appropriate on top, slippers on feet – a tweak.
An expert has warned against wearing slippers day-in, day-out while working from home, suggesting your indoor shoes could damage your posture, pain, and overall health.
Eleanor Burt, also known as Posture Ellie, is a posture alignment therapist. She tells Metro.co.uk that going barefoot is the best thing you can do for your feet in lockdown.
She explains: ‘While slippers will certainly cause you fewer problems than the restrictive, supportive and heeled shoes most people wear most of the time (the majority of ‘normal’ high street shoes and trainers are all three of these things), slippers still serve a role in switching off the muscles and proprioceptors of the feet. This contributes to lazier and less balanced feet.
‘This essentially means the foundations of your body are off and this then feeds up the rest of the body and impacts how the rest of your body moves too.
‘We are all very indoctrinated into the rhetoric that our feet ‘need support’ and ‘need protection’, but actually by supporting and protecting our feet, we create extremely weak, stiff feet that don’t move as they are designed to.
‘This really has a significant impact that shouldn’t be scoffed at.
‘You know when you see older people shuffling around in their slippers, barely able to lift their feet off the floor? A big contributor to that will have been their footwear choices (and chair sitting).’
Ellie recommends being barefoot as much as you can – a change that’s far easier to try out while we’re working at home rather than in an office, where kicking off your shoes might not win you many fans.
‘If your body can comfortably cope with being barefoot, be barefoot as much as you can… especially whilst you are working from home and don’t have the same social obligations as in normal life where bare feet might not be appropriate,’ she says.
‘Being barefoot allows your feet to actually have to work … to sense the ground beneath them, read temperature and importantly, MOVE.
‘There are 33 joints in the foot and nearly 25% of all the bones in the human body. When these guys can’t move properly, you can have issues all over your body.
‘I cannot reiterate enough how important functional feet are to the function of your whole body.
‘I spend a lot of my time with clients trying to unlock stiff feet and undo years of damage from restrictive shoes. Their pain doesn’t even present at their feet, it can be in random places anywhere in the body, so they don’t necessarily see the connection between their pain and their feet… until they start waking up their feet and their back/neck/shoulder pain starts going down.’
Slippers aren’t the sole cause of all foot pain and posture issues, of course.
Going barefoot won’t do much to benefit your body if you’re not up and about and staying active.
As well as ditching the shoes as much as you can during the day, use this time in lockdown to undo problems with posture and movement. Make sure to get up and potter about every few hours, stop hunching over your laptop in bed, and make the most of your daily exercise allowance by getting outside to run or walk.
‘If you wear shoes all day for work, being barefoot at home is the perfect time to allow your feet to breathe and move,’ Ellie tells us. ‘If you only wear slippers at home, you won’t allow them to do this.
‘As the weather is getting better and temperature isn’t an issue, use this time. For most of ‘shoe history’, shoes served the purpose to protect against the elements and from damage, they didn’t alter movement patterns or deform the feet. Now the weather is better, ask yourself if you really need to be wearing shoes or slippers, or is it merely habit?
‘Now is the time to focus on waking up your feet, re-building flattened arches (not by propping them up with orthotics – through exercises) and getting your toes to move independently of one another (yes, it’s possible!).
‘The best way to look after your posture whilst working from home is by moving every joint in your body in as many ways as possible, as often as you can. Think to yourself, have I moved my ankle today? Have I externally rotated both my hips? Have I extended my spine?
‘If you don’t keep each joint in your body lubricated through their full range of movement, this will cause you issues as the years go on.’
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