The Grounded Athlete | What is Grounding and Why is it Important?
“The picture above is of me and my niece. When she gets fussy, I plant her in the grass or dirt, and she calms down very quickly. A little boost for her parasympathetic nervous system.”
We are excited to bring to you a very intriguing topic that will allow you to get exceptionally close to our Earth. Rob has a profound knowledge base around grounding so enjoy the read and learning more about something we can all do each day for better health!
"So, you’ve never heard of grounding? Or maybe you have, but the idea that stepping barefoot onto the soil, grass, or concrete and experiencing a plethora of health benefits perhaps seems too good to be true?
I thought so too. I was extremely skeptical when I first heard about the concept of grounding the human body. I’ve known about grounding homes and electrical wiring, but how could this have any place in human physiology? I began to research how grounding worked exactly and what kind of benefits I could expect to see just by simply taking my shoes off. This led me down a long and winding path of inflammation and oxidative stress pathways, reactive oxygen species, red blood cell and blood urea dynamics, heart rate variability, radio-frequencies and electromagnetic fields, electrical conductance and insulation ... the list goes on! But perhaps the greatest research I did involved experimenting on myself.
I made it a mission to see how grounding effected my quality of life, my training, and my sleep. I looked for ways to disprove it (the skeptic inside of me.) But alas, my sleep improved dramatically, my injuries and recovery time cut down drastically. My body felt recharged and, simultaneously, relaxed.
After a year of consistent grounding (even in the winter) I knew this was something special, but no one was talking about it. It made perfect sense to me, yet I couldn’t find any of this literature in the mainstream health world. Everyone was talking about the newest supplements, the best glute-shaper workout, keto versus low-fat. Barefoot contact eluded the masses. It was upsetting to me. The research that’s already available is extremely promising. However, you’ll find that our most promising health goldmines sometimes slip under the rug. Sometimes by accident and sometimes not!
That’s why I started The Grounded Athlete. To spread awareness about this life-changing phenomenon. To not only collect this research and make it available, but to also bring it to life through the videos that I make and the content that I put out. So far many I’ve been able to reach many people who’ve proclaimed to me how much better they feel when they are consistently grounded.
So, what is grounding?
I will put grounding in its simplest terms. The shoes that you wear on your feet, the houses and buildings that you spend a lot of your time in, are insulating. What does this mean in regard to the ground? It means that the flow of electrons from the ground to you is cut off. Therefore, you are not grounded in these instances. You are insulated. These ever-flowing, and ever-abundant electrons lie at the surface of the earth and are constantly replenished by what we call the global electrical circuit. Thousands of storms and lightning strikes per minute transfer these electrons to the surface of the earth. When you are barefoot, in contact with the ground, these electrons flow into you, and restore your body’s electrodynamics. The negative health effects of being insulated are many, and I go into a lot of these on my page. Throughout our evolution we’ve been in contact with this negative charge and it’s only in the last century that rubber soles were introduced, and we began living a mostly insulated lifestyle. A lot has happened in the last century in terms of health degradation and I strongly believe insulation has more to do with that than we think.
The benefits of being grounded are also many. From being a natural anti-coagulant, to restoring your circadian rhythm, to neutralizing excessive reactive oxygen species that build up in your body leading to oxidative stress and inflammation, to improving those little gaps in between each of your heartbeats (HRV), and the most obvious of all, grounding induces a sense of calmness.
People will go through most of their life in an over-stressed state (overactive sympathetic nervous system – your fight or flight response), and what grounding does is allow your parasympathetic nervous system (your rest and digest) to better counterbalance your autonomic nervous system. These are just a few examples of how grounding can influence your physiology. If you would like to learn more about the science of grounding, I have some great research links at thegroundedathletellc.com/research
How can you get started?
By taking your shoes off and going outside! Soil and grass are best for grounding (especially wet grass – perfect time of year for this). Concrete will also work. Basically, if the material is conductive and in contact with the ground charge, it will ground you. How long should you ground? Given the research, it is clear that the more grounding you do, the better. Your skin conductance will change almost instantly when you touch the ground. But as soon as you leave the ground these measurable parameters that I’ve mentioned, revert back to what they were before, depending on how long and how consistent you are grounding for. The more consistent you can be with this practice the longer the effects of grounding will stay with you. Sometimes your cheeks become rosy and your feet tingle. Sometimes it induces a stronger sense of sleepiness, especially if the sun has gone down. Everybody is different. Experiment and see how grounding influences your physical and mental wellbeing. I know the weather is getting a little cooler around here, but grounding especially when the weather gets colder and you’re outside less can make a world of difference in terms of staying healthy and avoiding sickness in the winter months. I’ll shovel away any snow in the winter and get at least 10 minutes of barefoot contact and make extra use of my grounding sheets and mats (yes, these are a thing!)
Grounding is something I firmly believe can improve your health. I’ve read countless stories of people who have alleviated symptoms, cured and even reversed disease with the help of being grounded. As Clint Ober would put it, this is one of the greatest health discoveries of our time, and hopefully it will become a household name in terms of self-healing. Something to turn to before we run to pills or fancy procedures. Living grounded – living next to nature - will change the way you think about holistic healing. I hope I’ve cleared some of this up for you. We’ve only just touched the tip of the iceberg here. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!"
Please find Rob on Instagram and visit his website to further learn about the benefits of grounding by getting out in Nature!
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