Run barefoot and give a leg up to your memory

PTI Washington | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on May 15, 2016


Want to boost your working memory? Take off your shoes, as a new study has found that running barefoot leads to better cognitive performance.

Working memory, our ability to recall and process information, is used throughout our lifespan. By improving it, we may be able to realise gains in key areas, from school to work to retirement, researchers said. “Working memory is increasingly recognised as a crucial cognitive skill, and these findings are great news for people looking for a fun way to boost their working memory,” said Tracy Alloway from the University of North Florida in the US.

The researchers enlisted 72 participants between the ages of 18 and 44, who ran both barefoot and wore shoes at a comfortable, self-selected pace for approximately 16 minutes.Working memory was measured before and after running.

The results of this research found a significant increase — approximately 16 per cent — in working memory performance in the barefoot-running condition. When running barefoot, one often has to avoid stepping on potentially hurtful objects by using precise foot placement.

As a result, study participants were required to step on flat objects to simulate running barefoot in an outdoors context.

Though participants stepped on the flat objects with shoes and barefoot, only the barefoot condition saw improvements in working memory.

Published on May 15, 2016
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