Ah feet, how little attention we give them and how much they do for us. Since they are the support and foundation of our body and essential to movement, let’s give them some recognition.
What do you think of when you think of your feet? They are so Important to us but are often neglected unless they are hurting or needing new shoes.
For centuries women have been at the mercy of what shoe designers deem appropriate. (Most men have not had to go through the pains of high heels and super pointed shoes.) But the exercise and awareness is of course for all feet, no matter how big, small or what sex they are.
CLICK HERE if you just want to go right to the exercise.
For me and many others the level of comfort in shoes is perhaps the most important in making a choice of shoe. Luckily shoe manufactures are aware of this now. We no longer have to force our feet into too-tall, too-tight or too-anything shoes.
Who remembers when Birkenstocks and Roots hit the market? They were not much for the fashion world, but they did add much to promote comfort in shoes. Now there are many shoes available with both style and comfort. (My daughter and my friend Lee, both high hell–I meant heel–junkies would say high heels are comfortable.)
The latest rage in shoes is the “running barefoot” — the Vibram five fingers shoe. I have resisted these for some time; the thought of having no arch support with my high arches was not enticing. But I really liked the idea of getting my toes to spread. When I finally tried them, I felt how relaxed my foot and was I was sold. As Vibram says, “The more it looks like a foot the more it acts like a foot.” As many of you may or may not know, the outer toes are for support, agility and flexibility. The weight and movement is really meant to go through the big toe; I think that’s why we have that big fleshy mound on the bottom of the big toes. If the other toes are able to separate and aren’t all smashed together, then you have more support from them.
I do not think these shoes are for everyone. If you have flat feet or knee problems go slow and investigate what is best for you. There are exercises available for to improve and change your support.
Unfortunately most people realize too late what not giving attention to the feet does. With bunions and other foot problems as we age, the most dominate thing that happens is less activity. I am not saying don’t ever wear high heels; some women love them and want that look (My daughter and Dear Ms. Lee wouldn’t be without them) But finding a balance and noticing what happens when you do wear those kind of shoes can help prevent problems later.
Regardless of what shoe are wearing, becoming aware of your feet through Alexander Technique, foot reflexology, and the following exercise will make a difference in your support system.
Foot Massage exercise:
As you massage your feet sense the bones, touch along the bone and feel the individual bones, do they feel pliable or hard and stiff? Follow them from the beginning of the toe out to the end. Do the toes tend to be stuck together as if they were still in a shoe or can you spread them easily? As you rub the bottom of your foot where are the tender points? You can check the reflexology chart and see what organ or body part that might relate to.
Waking up the feet and your awareness of them
Stand with your feet hip width apart, bend one knee forward and lift your ankle (your foot will be in the same position as if you were wearing a high heel.) Now roll slowly across the ball of your foot starting with your little toe all the way to the big toe, then reverse this so you are moving back and forth at least 5 or 6 times. Now pause and take note of any changes, sensations or awareness. With the same foot solid on the ground, imagine your lower leg is like a pencil and you are going to trace a circle on the bottom of the floor, moving your leg in a circle in one direction a few times and then the other. When this is done, stop and compare the side you have worked with to the side you have not worked with. Is there any change or difference? Did that bring more awareness to your foot, knee, hip relationship? Now repeat this on the other side.
You will want to be aware of your whole body as you are doing this exercise, maintain an upright spine and ease in your neck.
Please feel free you email if you have any questions. Thanks for reading and let me know if there is a topic you would like addressed.
All the Best,