Once upon a time, I actually said "the only good thing about feet is shoes!", referring to the too-high (but very beautiful) stilettos I’d kicked off next to me in pain. Oh, how wrong I was…..
Our feet are our roots - they connect us to the earth, they are our propulsion engine, our stabiliisers and our natural shock absorbers. Our feet have the ability to give us an indiciation of illness, and feature in absolutely everything we do, so why then, do they get a raw deal in our overall wellbeing?
The feet are highly complex machines, containing over a quarter of the bones in our body. with over 100 muscles and tendons. When they are misaligned, then the rest of our body becomes misaligned. The result is strained calves, knees, hips, spine and neck. With misalignment occurring in a huge percentage of the population, it is no surprise that we have an epidemic of back and neck pain, as well as health related issues with hips, knees, gait and balance. Over time, this results in decreased movement and lower body weakness.
The good news is, you can address these issue's with regular foot exercises. Some tips on how you can help yourself, include firstly drawing awareness to the way you walk. If your feet are turned out, then your knees and hips will follow. If you try and bring your feet parallel, you may feel the knees and hips rotate internally.
When you stand on a flat floor, try standing on tip toes for one minute, pushing into the big toe. This will help you find balance increase muscle strength in the feet, ankles and calves.
Then try spreading the toes as wide as you can (hint: you should be able to thread your fingers between your toes). This gives a wider base of stability, which in turn equals improved balance.
Foot health is directly linked to long term mobility, and as such we should exercise the feet daily.....and ditch the stilettos - although I have to admit, mine do make an outing every now and again! ;-)
For more information about how Pilates can help improve your foot health and posture, please contact The Pilates Room.