Your feet are a wonderful, complex, incredibly important part of your body.
We are often not very kind to our feet, but perhaps this is because we don’t fully understand them. They aren’t just bits of bone and muscle that we stand on.
Balance, pelvic stability and posture are all heavily influenced by sensory information from the foot. The sole of your foot is sensitive for a good reason: it is constantly sending information into your central nervous system so that you can instantly and unconsciously adjust your body’s alignment. It also promotes a strong and stable pelvis for walking, running, jumping or any other weight bearing exercise by triggering a response from the muscles of the legs.
We need a flexible, responsive foot which “listens” to the ground, and “talks” back to us, but we often develop stiff feet and ankles through lack of care, and by overusing or under using their delicate muscles.
Getting in tune with your feet does not have to be difficult. Firstly, take your shoes and socks off. How often do your feet actually get to feel the floor? Try a little walking – can you feel your feet? Not everyone can at first, but with a little practice, most people can reconnect with them.
Stand still for a moment. Where is the pressure under your feet? Is it under your heels, or the balls of the feet? Is there more pressure under one foot than the other? Can you make it more even?
Try a little walking again. Can you feel which part of your feet strikes the ground first, and how your pressure moves across your feet as you step through?
A little time each day being aware of your feet can help you to reconnect with them, and this can bring benefits to your balance and the performance of your legs at any age and any level of physical function.
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