While this week’s health tip isn’t really ABOUT ballet, I have to give a shout-out to my most amazing teacher Bianca because, little did I know that, when I signed up to take her beginner’s adult ballet class in September, that my whole reality was going to change, yet again.
I thought her Instagram posts from her summer teaching trip to Paris were lovely and of course most every girl (and maybe some of the boys…want to make sure everyone’s included here) dreams of being a graceful ballerina, or at least I’m hearing that from most of the folks I’m telling about my class.
I had NO idea where this adventure was going to take me! Instead of just a dance class, I felt like I should have paid for this out of my business account because I’ve learned SO much more about the importance and use of foot, lower leg, hip and butt muscles.
What I’ve been dying to share with you all is about foot strength, flexibility and how vitally important it is for posture and balance.
I see feet ALL DAY LONG with my in-office folks.
I hear about my patients losing balance and falling.
I see folks with ankle weakness, knee problems, hip pain, low back tightness, mid back spasms…do you see the pattern of moving from bottom-top? The reason is this: your feet are your base. Yes, forgotten bases, but still your base. EVERYTHING (yes, I know I’m using a lot of caps today, but I really want to emphasize so much info) stems from feet.
I really did know this before, and this isn’t the first I’m learning of this, but I’m coming to a greater level of respect for and returning back to the need to make sure our feet are healthy and strong.
And while I know a pedicure is NICE, it’s only one aspect of foot care….and we want to looker deeper and work a bit more to get the muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints of the foot, ankle and lower leg to start engaging.
Bianca brought up a great point in class: in the western world, we tend to put on our shoes and then forget about them.
With little thought given to these two structures that carry our entire body weight. Additionally, if some or more aspects of these structures are bent unevenly, it changes how that weight is distributed from that spot, all the way up to the neck.
I can’t tell you how many people I see who’ve had knee replacements. Why? Often times, it’s years of walking on feet that are asymmetrical, a dropped arch, bunions, toes that are hyper-flexed, an old sprained ankle that was never properly cared for. That affects balance as well as a multitude of other joint issues that I could probably write a book about.
And I did find a great little book that my friend just gave me called ‘Rooted’ by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. It’s not about feet but it’s about science, nature and spirit….a book in which I found all of my favorite things! In a couple chapters she dives deeply into the importance of feet being on the ground, barefoot.
Years ago, you may remember the popular book, Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. I was enthralled with the idea of barefoot running and the possibilities it brought. While I never tried it, I loved the idea. And I still do.
When we give our feet the ability to go ‘naked’, it allows toes spread out, ligaments and tendons to lengthen, and we can feel the floor/earth beneath us, which enhances our proprioception.
Enclosed in shoes, our feet become numb and unable to respond to the changes in environment. We have hundreds of proprioceptors in our feet: in every joint, muscle and tendon of our toes and ankles that are activated when we’re walking barefoot that just can’t be done while wearing hard, narrow, thick-soled shoes.
Soooo, below I have some challenges for you to strengthen those very important, yet very under cared for appendages
Now that I’ve set the stage for why feet are so important, let’s talk about some things you can do, because I always want to leave you feeling empowered about your health.
Wherever you are in the world, may you continue to feel your absolute best. Thank you for including me in your life’s journey,
If you’re enjoying these quick health tips, please share with a loved one. My goal is to spread the words of health and empowerment to the whole wide world and I need your help to do it!