Monday, April 25, 2011

Driving Barefoot May Noticeably Improve Gas Mileage

With gas prices in the U.S. on the rise and warmer weather becoming more regular, I wanted to revisit a topic I blogged about almost two years ago. I decided to do a little experiment to more definitively find out if the act of driving barefoot has any real impact on gas mileage. I wasn't terribly surprised by the results.

Driving barefoot may improve your gas mileage by double-digit percentages
and, although it's believed by many to be against the law, it's perfectly legal in all 50 states, Canada and the UK to drive without shoes. The one exception is in Alabama, where motorcycle riders must don footwear.


I conducted a generally unscientific study over the course of a month with my own vehicle, a 2003 Hyundai Sonata GLS with automatic transmission, to see what noticeable difference I might find driving shod versus barefoot. I set up a strict set of rules in order keep everything as equal as possible. This would ensure that the results would be more accurate and better comparisons could be made. The test involved driving on two subsequent tanks of gas. With the first, I drove with minimalist shoes on almost the entire tank and with the second, barefoot almost the entire tank.

While I would have liked to drive every bit of each tank only with shoes or barefoot, the logistics of making this happen were quite unrealistic. For the most part, however, driving with the opposite foot condition was very limited and ended up being only a few miles maximum.

The following rules were used in ensuring near equal conditions for both tanks:
  • Both tanks were filled to near capacity, allowing for a few "clicks" of the pump when finished filling.
  • I would drive with similar patterns of accelerating and braking with both tanks.
  • A very small amount of driving - only a few miles - with the opposite foot condition would be allowed with each tank for logistical reasons.
  • I would only record the mileage driven up to the point that the gas indicator light came on while in the process of driving. (The gas indicator light comes on when approximately two gallons of gas remain in the 17.2-gallon tank.)
  • Similar routes would be used for driving to and from work each day.
  • A near identical mix of city and highway driving would be attempted.
  • No maintenance would be conducted on the vehicle during the test. (e.g. No car washes, oil changes, tire pressure adjustments, etc.)
  • The same brand and grade of fuel would be used for each full tank.
  • I would use the air-conditioning unit, radio and other ancillary systems for a similar number of miles.
And so I proceeded to drive. It took approximately 2 weeks to burn through each tank of gas. When all miles were driven and the test was complete, I did see a difference.


Driving barefoot showed an improvement of 2.1 miles per gallon, a difference of +11.3%. In total, I drove 31.7 miles farther on a tank of gas without shoes.

This may not seem like much, but over time the savings would add up. According to AAA's Website, the national average for a gallon of gas in the U.S. on Wednesday, April 20, was $3.84 per gallon. When you figure out the difference in cost per mile (two cents, based on the MPGs from the results) and extrapolate that out to annual savings based on the U.S. Department of Transportation's annual mileage data, an average American could save about $284 a year, or almost $11 per bi-weekly paycheck, just from driving barefoot in a car similar to mine. That doesn't include any other fuel-saving measures that could save additional money. What could you do with an extra $11 in each paycheck?


The apparent increase in fuel efficiency from driving barefoot makes sense for a couple of reasons. I can tell you from experience that driving barefoot gives the best feedback from pedals to foot that anyone can achieve. Wearing shoes, I only feel the inside of my shoe. When barefoot, I'm able to use the thousands of nerve endings and dozens of bones, joints and soft tissues in the foot and ankle to add or remove the slightest degree of acceleration or braking that is necessary. With shoes on, much of this sensation and movement is limited or eliminated, and then I must use only larger groups of bones, joints and muscles to make adjustments. Essentially, if you can feel the pedals better and exert only the exact pressure necessary, you will use only the gas you need and save fuel over time. Think of it as kind of very intelligent cruise control.

Based on all this, I have a few thoughts on my results and what they mean for the "bigger picture."

  • Was this experiment scientifically valid and can we make solid scientific conclusions based on this information? Absolutely NOT. Don't flame me because I didn't do this or that to conduct a proper scientific experiment. This was a test conducted by one person in one car with two tanks of gas. I'm no Mythbuster. That said...
  • This data and my previous experiences driving shod vs. barefoot all do point in the direction that driving barefoot does provide better gas mileage. Though I've never kept solid numbers except for this experiment, I can tell you that I notice an uptick in my mileage the more often I drive barefoot. I really do think there's something to this.
  • A person who begins driving barefoot after using regular (read: non-minimalist) footwear could see even bigger numbers than I did. Remember that I only wore minimalist footwear during the shod test. These types of shoes provide better ground feedback than regular shoes do, so it's not far fetched to say that going to barefoot from regular dress shoes or sneakers with thicker heels and less flexibility could show an even bigger improvement. Heck, there might even be cause to say that just switching to minimalist shoes for driving would provide it's own uptick in gas mileage.
  • With current gas prices as high as we've seen them in three years, why not try whatever you can to save gas? If a combination of fuel-saving measures, including driving barefoot, can show at least some noticeable positive difference in mileage, it seems prudent to try them out and see what it can do for your pocketbook. Remember, driving barefoot is absolutely LEGAL.
  • I really want to see someone scientifically study this. There's a lot of anecdotal evidence and vague postings out there to support the idea that driving barefoot saves gas, but my study is the closest thing to scientific analysis that I've seen on this topic. Maybe this very blog entry will spark some auto club or group to look further into this. I think it's safe to say that there's plenty of people who drive barefoot when flip flop weather comes around. Now let's see some real data to find out if they happen to be saving themselves money. Maybe I should ask the Mythbusters...

What do you think? Do you drive barefoot and, if so, have you gotten better gas mileage because of it? Can having direct skin-to-pedal contact really allow for finer sensation and adjustment of the pedals? If you disagree with my assertion that there's something to this, why so and what do you really think the difference is between driving shod or barefoot? Please leave your comments in the section below.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Little Runner That Could

Today feels different. Waking up today was different. This morning's short 2-mile barefoot run felt different.

I feel a little bit like The Little Engine That Could when it comes to my running. I've been climbing and climbing this figurative hill trying to get into a rhythm, saying all the while, "I think I'm a runner. I think I'm a runner." Now I actually feel like I'm crossing over the peak and starting on the downhill slope, soon to chant, "I know I'm a runner! I know I'm a runner!"

It's a whole bunch of little changes culminating into one BIG change. Waking up in the morning to go for a run is so much easier than a month ago. Getting everything together for a run in the morning is going quicker. My feet are holding up well for longer and longer runs. Most importantly, the act of running is becoming more "natural" for me. Running is working for me instead of me working for the running. My body is beginning to get into a habit of running that it didn't have before. I've NEVER felt this way, even with all the running I've done so far.

Up until now, running has always just felt like a lot of work. It never felt quite "right." I thought during this morning's run about the words of Micah True, Born to Run's 'Caballo Blanco:' "If it feels like work. You're working too hard."

After this weekend's Trolley Run and this morning's short run, running isn't feeling as much like work anymore. Instead of being something that I do, it's becoming something that I am. Maybe it has to do with that whole concept of developing habits. They say that habits take 30 days to form. I think mine is finally forming, and I look forward to continuing that momentum.

Are you a runner? Have you experienced the same kind of feelings about the sport? If you're a non-runner, have you ever tried and just couldn't get a momentum going? Please leave any comments in the section below.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Report: The 23rd Sabates Eye Centers Trolley Run (4-miler)

My first fully-barefoot race of the 2011 season was outstanding! After running a 5K in late January with Vibram Fivefingers Sprints on almost the whole course, I'd been conditioning my feet to do a lot more barefoot running. With this four-mile Trolley Run, I took a bit of a risk because I wasn't totally sure if my soles were yet conditioned for that distance. It turns out that they did GREAT and carried me to a four-minute improvement on my four-mile-race personal record (PR). I finished in 41:11 with an overall pace of 10:18 per mile, officially.

Up and at 'em

My family got up early on Sunday, April 17, in order to leave our house at about 6 a.m. The starting gun was set for 7:45 and I had a few things to do to get to the starting line - more on that in a bit. We traveled down to the Country Club Plaza shopping district in Kansas City, Missouri, where the finish line was located and the other events of the day were set to take place. We got the kids and my wife situated just after the finish line so she could get pictures of the finishers and other happenings.

It was then my job to get a little bit warmed up and head to the shuttles that would take me and 11-thousand other runners to the starting line. You see, unlike most races, this one doesn't go in a loop with the start and finish lines in generally the same area. This one actually starts four miles away - and uphill - from the finish line! (Any guesses how popular this mostly-downhill race is for the most elite runners?) After warming up some and using a, ahem, "plastic facility" in ~47 deg. F. conditions - brr - I kissed the wife and kids goodbye and headed totally barefoot to the line for the shuttles.

The Shuttle Shuffle

The experience of shuttling to the starting line is a whole big story in itself. I kid you not: From the start of the shuttle line to the end was literally three city blocks of people long! Wait that long in line barefoot and people are bound to talk to you about it. I had a nice chat with one guy who started off by saying I had to have real toughness to go barefoot. My feet and I were warm when I got in line, but by the time I got onto the bus, my feet were sufficiently chilly (i.e. NOT warm like a barefoot runner's feet should be). I spent the 15-minute-ish ride up to the start massaging my feet with my hands trying to get them warmed up again. The total time I spent waiting for the shuttles and riding one to the start was probably longer than I took to actually run the race!

On the positive side, I had a great conversation about barefoot living with a young lady on the bus. I don't remember her name, except that it was a non-typical name that started with an O...I think. Let's call her Olivia. We quickly got into a conversation about going barefoot and barefoot running. To keep a long story a bit shorter, I told her that I also live barefoot as well as running sans shoes - even shopping, dining, etc. She said she does the same a lot, much to the chagrin of many of her friends and family. I told her about how I founded The Primalfoot Alliance, and she seemed genuinely interested in the organization and for barefoot living to be much more acceptable. I'm glad that, although my feet were cold, Olivia and I could meet and we could have such a great chat.

The Start

As the bus pulled up to the drop-off zone, I glanced at my Garmin 305 GPS watch and saw that it was 7:55. TEN MINUTES after the starting gun was to have gone off. Seriously?! All that work attempting to get there in plenty of time and it still wasn't enough? Well, I'll just know better next year. For the record, the race web site indicates that I actually crossed the start line 12:21 after the starting gun.

My effort to re-warm my feet on the bus paid off as I started the race. That effort, plus the sun-warmed pavement, made it so my feet never felt too cold.

Off in the distance I could see the back end of my wave of runners. It was kind of surreal. The Trolley Run bills itself as the largest four-mile race in the nation, yet I was starting with just a few dozen people from our bus because everyone else was already gone! It was actually kind of nice. I didn't have to worry about getting my feet stepped on by a huge mob of people's Asics, Nikes, New Balances, etc. at the starting line. I've said a number of times that one of the biggest risks to living barefoot is other people's shoes.

The Race

After driving the course the day before, I was mostly looking forward to this mostly-downhill race. What I wasn't excited about was the approximately mile-long stretch of rougher pavement in the first part of the race. About three quarters of a mile in, we ran a while on smaller side streets. For those who don't normally run barefoot, side streets are not as friendly for barefoot runners because they're not as frequently traveled by cars. Therefore, the blacktop is not typically as smoothed out by constant traffic and there aren't as many tire particles to take the edge off the pavement's rockiness. Anyway, I was hoping that my feet would hold up through that part of the course and my technique would provide as little friction as possible to let me finish the race un-blistered, and it worked out. Awesome!

The elevation chart for the 4-mile Trolley Run shows a net
elevation loss of 164 feet - downhill almost the whole way!

There were a few fun and/or humorous moments for me throughout the race. One dude carried a Christ-like cross the whole way, though I'm not sure Jesus' model had a tire on the bottom of it like this guy's had. I have to think our savior's journey to Calvary might have been a little easier if it did. A random young lady was standing beside the course playing bagpipes, of all things, for all of us. I became acutely aware at a couple different times of all the "clopping" of the other runners' shoes on the ground while I was cruising along in stealth mode. The best story, however, is about a woman who I'd just passed. I ran by her and her friend and the next thing I hear is, "Hey, Susan." Then, nothing. I can't be positive because I didn't turn around to look, but I can picture in my mind's eye the woman pointing her finger down at my feet and looking at her friend with this stunned look on her face while she silently mouths, "He's barefoot!" At least, that's one scenario that could have happened. :-)

I am pleased with how I felt during the run. My heart rate stayed up but didn't push the limits to the point that I felt I had to back off from my pace. My legs felt good, never feeling like they were going to give me problems. The only slight issue I had was with a little more than a mile left. I started getting a little cramping in my right side - an issue I've had before - so I took appropriate measures to squash it. I had read right before my first 5K last year that exhaling when the same foot lands on the ground while running can lead to cramping on that side after a while. To fix it, just change up your breathing so that you exhale when the other foot lands. Voila! The cramping goes away! And mine did.

I felt a little bit tired in the last half mile or so, but I think part of that was mental. I knew that the end was (literally) in sight and my mind started giving up a little bit. A bunch of people did pass me when I slowed down at the end, but I still think I finished pretty strong.

Overall, I ran a very good race. I actually ran the whole thing barefoot, never stopped to walk, kept an elevated - but comfortable - pace and set a new PR for the four-mile distance. Speaking of pace, this is the second fastest pace I've ever run in an organized race, short of the Groundhog Run in January. Could I have pushed it a little bit more? Sure, but I can't complain. I also discovered that this is the longest barefoot run I've had since November 2010! My bare feet are back to where they were before winter, baby! It's all good.

Now, my training marches on as I prepare for the Hospital Hill Run (half marathon) on June 4. I'm planning for bare feet for that race, too. I wonder if pseudo Jesus and the bagpipe girl will be there, too...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Barefoot Season 2011: No Backup But The Doctor's Note

Now that Spring has sprung and warmer weather has moved in, I've decided to revise my Barefoot Code of Conduct for the 2011 "barefooting season." The idea is to keep it relevant and keep current my own personal preferences and standards related to going barefoot. There are two big changes for this year:

The first change is the elimination of regular "backup" footwear. Up to now, I've kept a pair of flip flops under the driver's seat of our car and minivan. The original purpose was to have a pair of backups available if I needed them for some reason. This included my willingness to comply with signs that required footwear and having the option of returning to my vehicle for them if asked by a business' employee/manager/security to put on shoes. I still had every intention of walking into most places totally barefoot.

The problem that I discovered, however, is that I relied on these flip flops too much. Instead of going into most places without any shoes, I kept slipping on the flip flops and then taking them off inside. This even included stores with no signs prohibiting bare feet! I was getting "soft." Instead of dictating how I was going to live my life, I found myself acquiescing to the assumed preferences of others and avoiding assumed confrontation. I don't like that.

There have been a few occasions in the past when I didn't have any backup footwear with me...and I LOVED it. This rarely occurred, but when it did I felt a sense of relief and a weight lifted off my shoulders. I was pleased with the reality that I had to go barefoot and that I didn't have to make a choice I didn't want to make. The certainty of inevitability can be quite soothing, sometimes.

If I know ahead of time that I will genuinely need footwear -- such as in times of extreme temperatures or when participating in more risky activities, I'll take shoes with me. The overall point is that having those "just in case shoes" on hand has come to an end.

The other big change is that I have acquired a note from my chiropractor. It says "Patient needs to be allowed to be barefoot regardless of location/establishment." (see photo below) I had a conversation with him about my barefoot lifestyle, and he understands the benefits of going barefoot. Because of that, he was more than willing to write up the note. I have heard success stories from other barefooters about how having a doctor's note helped their cause immensely. I haven't been questioned or had a need to use it yet -- and quite frankly I don't know if it carries any real legal weight (I've been researching this) -- but I welcome it as a "tool in the tool chest" when barefooting in public.

My doctor's note (altered for privacy purposes).
I should point out that I decided to ditch the backup footwear before I ever considered getting a doctor's note. The decision to talk to my chiropractor actually came on a whim when I overheard another patient talking with him about one.

This could be interesting. For example, I have a paid membership to Costco, a wholesale warehouse that requires footwear of their members. I have already been asked once (pre-note) to put on my flip flops while in there -- I complied because I had my flip flops in the cart. I like my Costco membership, but I also prefer to go barefoot. Without any backup footwear, I hope that the doctor's note is able to satisfy them enough to allow me to shop unshod. If not, I could consider Sam's Club, but they also have a shoe rule and may not allow me even with a note.

I still want to be able to function in society and purchase the things I need at the price I'd like, and anybody should expect the same whether they prefer to wear shoes or not. I founded The Primalfoot Alliance to advocate on behalf of barefooters because policies still exist that discriminate against us. I like having a doctor's note to show that I have medical backing behind my decision. That said, I also like the idea of being able to shop without hassle at Costco and many other places and not need a doctor's note or any other reason.

Rest assured that I will not back down from my dedication to The Primalfoot Alliance or other barefooters even though I have a doctor's note. The cause is still important and I will still be approached by many managers and security officers. I may "get off" with the note -- we'll see -- but I'll also take the opportunity to educate.

I will be posting again with information about how the doctor's note has worked out. I think it will help in many cases. If you have a chiropractor or doctor who you know is barefoot friendly, consider having a conversation about your desire to go barefoot into places but that you're often discriminated against. It may be that, if you ask, he/she would be willing to back you up with a note of your own.

I ask you, dear reader: What are your thoughts? Do you think the doctor's note will help? If Costco holds fast and rejects the note, should I stand on conviction and kick them to the curb? Have I taken this too far? Please leave your comments and suggestions in the section below.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Most Facebook Users Would Go Barefoot in Public: Poll

About half of Facebook users would "almost always" go barefoot in public if it were socially acceptable and the weather was nice, according to a recent online poll answered by 533 respondents on the social media site. Another quarter of responders replied that they would go barefoot "some of the time" under the same circumstances. The poll begins to give a better view of people's perceptions of going barefoot and it's societal acceptance. (The results hold a 95% confidence level with 4% margin of error.)

Methodology: Asking the Right Question

A barefoot shopper. (Photo by
colorblindPICASO on Flickr)
I've been very interested for a while in getting some kind of good data about people's impressions of barefoot living. As founder and president of The Primalfoot Alliance, I very strongly believe in advocating for those who want to go barefoot - even in public places where so many barefooters are discriminated against. The first thing I wanted to find out when researching all this is how many people actually would go barefoot if given the chance. Knowing that could influence how much effort The Primalfoot Alliance should put into, efforts.

But what should be the first question? Well, I have my feelers out all over the internet when it comes to hearing people's thoughts on bare feet. I'm friends with numerous people who live with and without shoes, I watch a Twitter search related to all things "barefoot," and I get daily emails of Google search results related to the topic. A consistent message that I hear from a lot of people out there is their desire to go barefoot if it were only "socially acceptable" or if they "could." Furthermore, many people have told me that they would go barefoot more often if they lived in a better climate - specifically, warmer conditions. There are other factors that people take into account as reasons they don't go barefoot, but those two seem to be the foundational reasons why going barefoot isn't an option for them. I figure that for every person that says it, there may be many others who at least are thinking it.

So I asked the question, "Would you go totally barefoot in public if it was socially acceptable and the weather was nice?" I included the caveat for nice weather to make it more reasonable to imply that the basic conditions for personal comfort are favorable enough that they'd feel comfortable going barefoot in the first place. Notice that I made no mention of sharp objects, diseases or any other issues that naysayers bring up against going without shoes. I wanted for respondents to answer while keeping those concerns in mind. Finally, a key word in this question is 'totally.' I thought it was important to clearly state that there would be nothing on their feet. This eliminates the possibilities of socks, flip flops, minimalist footwear or anything else being considered.

The answers were written to be simple and few in number. I wanted to get a good cross section of responses in which anyone and everyone could find a comfortable answer. Respondents could choose "No, thank you," "Sure, some of the time," or "Absolutely, almost always."

The Results: Surprising Even to Me

It turns out that one out of every two people on Facebook would frequently go barefoot in public if their perception of social acceptance was achieved. Furthermore, about three out of four people would go without shoes publicly at least some of the time. Only about a quarter of the respondents indicated that they still would not go barefoot.

But there's more to these results: One thing I wanted to know was how skewed the results might be based on the ratio of responses from my friends versus those who I'm not friends with on the service. Basically, did those who know me and my barefoot lifestyle mess up the numbers. Interestingly enough, the responses were almost identical all the way across the board. The biggest deviation in responses from friends versus non-friends was about 2%. Not bad.

Let's look at some charts. First, here's a pie graph of the overall answers to the question with all 533 Facebook users who responded represented.:
Next up, here's a visual breakdown of each the responses by those who I'm friends with on Facebook (red) versus those I'm not (green).:
A full 83% (444 people) of the 533 total responses came from people with whom I am NOT friends on Facebook. The remaining 17% (89) are.

So how accurate are these results? I wondered that myself. Using a sample size calculator from Creative Research Systems, I determined that for Facebook's more than 500 million active users (using 500 million as the population size), the results hold a 95% confidence level with 4.25% margin of error.


With everything I've written and presented so far, what does all this actually mean? I have drawn a few conclusions of my own, but yours may vary. (Don't berate me because your conclusions don't agree with mine.):

  • Because this poll was based only on Facebook users, it's hard to know exactly how it translates to the general populace. Although there are 500 million users on Facebook worldwide, only slightly more than 116 million of them are from the U.S. It's difficult to know how breakdowns of nationality, age, gender, political and other characteristics vary between Facebook's user population who responded and the general population. Without anything better to go on at this time, however, I believe it's reasonable to draw some conclusions about the general population from a good sample of 500 million users. After all, that's more than the entire population of the United States.
  • If one questions whether going barefoot in public is "socially acceptable," I have to conclude that it probably IS. If you assume that those who are willing to do it are fine with others doing it, too - a reasonable assumption - that means that most of the public really are okay with others' public barefootedness. The number may even be higher if you consider that those who don't want to go barefoot themselves may still be fine with others doing it, though there's no data to support that assumption (i.e. That's another question to ask).
  • There is widespread mistaken assumption that most of us are opposed to people going barefoot in public. It goes back to the notion of perception versus reality. People may not think it's socially acceptable, so they don't go barefoot in public. The problem is that a LOT of people think that and therefore the perception continues. I'd bet that this perception translates to business managers and security who think they're keeping the other patrons from being offended. It's pretty likely that a vast majority of the other patrons actually don't care. In all actuality, they would probably rather be barefoot, too.
  • I find these results to be VERY surprising. I expected that there could be 20-30% of people who would go barefoot most of the time, but not half of all responders. The fact that three out of four people would go barefoot in public at least some of the time tells me that people do have a respect for their feet. The results back up two big sentiments that I hear on a regular basis: "I LOVE going barefoot," and "I used to go barefoot all the time as a kid." Even though they say these things, they DON'T go barefoot in public. Maybe the reason for this is because of perceived social norms. That said...
  • We need to educate people that going barefoot in public is okay and that others are supportive. If people who prefer to go barefoot understand that they have the support of many others behind them, the visibility of bare feet in public could skyrocket in the next few years. As more people choose to go without shoes in public, there will be more pressure on businesses to allow them as patrons.
  • We need to educate businesses that many people would prefer to go barefoot while out and about and that they are not a threat to the bottom line. I really do believe that many managers and security base much of their discrimination off baseless thinking that other patrons will be offended by seeing people go barefoot. I've experienced it myself when an art gallery manager -- after I shot down all his other reasons for denying me -- told me he didn't want other patrons to be an art gallery that had a number of potentially offensive/disturbing pieces on display.
  • More research and polling needs to be done about these topics. There's so much more I'd like to know about people's stances on bare feet. For instance, what are people's primary reasons for opposing the idea of going barefoot in public? What do people see as the primary use for shoes? Are men or women more accepted when they go barefoot? The clearer the data we can get on all this, the better.
What do you think of these results? Do these responses surprise you? Do you think I made a mistake and these results aren't reliable? What can we take away from this poll? Please leave your responses in the comments section below.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Barefoot and Glovehanded

After lots of research and contemplation, I've decided to shift up my lifestyle significantly. Though I still believe in the benefits of going barefoot and will continue to do so, I am increasingly aware of the risk for viruses and bacteria that can be spread from person to person through bare hands. I have had a few instances lately of getting sick and cutting my hands or fingers on various objects.

It is because of these concerns that I've decided to regularly wear medical-grade gloves in daily life. They will provide a barrier that will both guard against infectious diseases and offer some protection against cuts.

We've heard it over and over that the best way to stop the spread of infection is to wash your hands. As I hate having dry skin and I think constant hand washing could lead to that, the next best thing is to regularly wear gloves. I figure, if surgeons wear them to keep surgeries safer, why not I wear them all the time to keep myself safer? I really do think it will help based on some of the evidence I've seen.

As far as their protective properties, let me first say that I'm tired of nicking or cutting my hands. Scratches just annoy me and I know they can lead to infection. If I wear protective gloves, even simple surgical gloves, they can be what catches on items that are capable of scratching or cutting me. While not being able to protect against every risk, I truly believe my risk of injury will go down significantly.

Since some evidence (PDF link) shows that surgical gloves can lose their protection over time, I intend to change them out no less than every two hours throughout the day. In cases when they might get overly contaminated from food or other, ahem, activities, they'll be changed outright afterward.

Now I won't wear gloves all the time -- THAT would be ridiculous, right?! I'll take them off at bedtime...and that's probably about it. Eight hours of barehandedness a day should be enough to keep my skin healthy.

This practice begins TODAY, April 1. I figure it's as good a day as any. To wait any longer would be foolish.*

What do you think? Am I just being paranoid? What would you do to negate the risks of infection from bare hands? What are you doing today to improve your health? Please leave your comments in the section below.

* - If you didn't figure it out by now, APRIL FOOLS! There's no way I'd ever do any of this, though it does provide an interesting commentary on what risks are actually out there and how people irrationally interpret and react to them. We really do have a higher risk of getting sick and injured via our hands than our bare feet.

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