It All Starts with your feet....

Last week we looked at learning to relax our overworked quadriceps and wake up those lateral hip muscles instead. This week we use our lateral hip muscles to externally rotate our thighs....and that's a whole lot more feasible when your feet are flexible and strong!

Your feet are an important feedback tool, relaying information to the nervous system about how the body needs to respond to the world it's moving through. And yet from a young age they are generally restricted by shoes that don't let them utilise their full potential. We tend to look for aesthetics over function and don't even notice that most shoes have an elevated heel (including runners, children's and mens footwear). Then there is the tendency to seek out flat and level surfaces upon which to walk and the end result can be foot problems that resonate throughout the body.

In Katy Bowman's recent podcast she answers a listener's question about shoes. It's well worth a listen but some things really stood out to me  (a big one was that it took her years to transition to more minimal shoes):

"....you have to remember the ecology of it all. It’s not just what you put on your feet, it’s how you move in them...What you’re walking upon...I was simultaneously doing lots of corrective exercises. So everything that I recommend in my books about transitioning to minimal shoes, I was also doing. So that’s a lot more than just putting something on my feet."

The question had been about what to wear on an extensive hiking trip so Katy added:

"Even though you’ve been wearing minimal shoes, you do need to choose wisely (if) you’re adding weight, adding distance, and adding new terrain that your feet are not used to.... if you’ve worn minimal shoes...for years, but the longest walk that you’ve ever taken in them is 5 miles then you might want to plan a couple of 10 mile or 15 mile walks in them because you might find ... that you’re not adapted to them as much as you think that you are. Remember that frequency is maybe the most important variable.  And that goes for terrain exposure, distance, or duration..."

You could use that same logic for city living. You can choose a shoe with a bit more cushioning for a day pounding the pavement and use your less cushioned shoes or even bare feet at other more appropriate times. Whatever you decide to do shoe wise, don't rush it. Katy has written a number of books on feet and shoes and offers plenty of free advice on her blog too. For those of you who have a copy of Dynamic Aging it has a really good index. Here are some links for more details on what we've covered over the past few weeks:

  • Go to page 71 for Relaxed Kneecaps (last weeks post) 
  • Page 76 -78 for external rotation of your thighs (or Neutral Knee-Pits as it's also known)
  • For more on shoes look under Footwear on Page 249 and you will find so much to explore including real life relatable stories

If you loved Petra's video last week try this one. Catsuit is a gem for everything from foot pain to headaches.