By: Ally Ippolito
“We don’t cushion our butt, so why do we cushion our feet?”
When it comes to our feet, we tend to think, “…the more cushion the better, the more support the better.” Why do we baby our feet by adding cushion and support when we don’t do that to any other part of our body?
Think about it, we don’t put padded underwear on; we don’t protect our arms by wearing shirts with padding. The only other area we might wear padding is a bra for us ladies, and that padding is for a good reason!
There are 26 bones in the human foot and ankle. That is one-quarter of all of the bones in our bodies. There are 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments in our ankles and feet. The muscles in our feet are our gateway to balance! Just like any other muscles in our body, we need to strengthen them! When you wear really cushioned shoes and even inserts you are sending inaccurate signals to then muscles in your feet and they are not working as hard as they need to, in order to sustain your balance. Essentially, wearing heavily cushioned shoes is weakening the muscles in your feet!
So as you age, if the muscles in your feet are week, your overall strength is also weaker. And, that means your balance is also weak. This is one of the reasons, besides the overall general lack of exercise, that adults lose their balance and are higher risk of falls as they age.
Start building up your foot strength now, by walking around your house with bare feet. You can also invest in a pair of lighter support shoes for the gym on days that you are not jumping or running.
One of the mistakes people often make is we hear that something is good for us so we go all out. For example, when people learned several years ago that there were tribes of people in South America and Africa that had no hip and knee problems and that ran miles with no shoes at all, they started running barefoot immediately and they ripped all kinds of muscles and facia on the bottom of their feet!
Building the muscles on the bottom of your feet is just like building muscles anywhere on your body. It takes time and lots of practice. Start with a pair of lighter support shoes for the days you are strength training and for general walking. Walk on the beach with bare feet and around your house with bare feet. At Mo-Mentum, we will take time in our workouts to help you work specifically on the muscles in your feet and stretch through the fascia as well.
Our feet do so much for us! We need our feet to function for the rest of our lives on a daily basis, they are meant to be strong and support your weight! Stop coddling your feet and start training them so they can do what they were designed to do!
I challenge you to start thinking about strengthening your feet! Go barefoot around the house, next time you go shopping for shoes don’t think “the more cushion the better”, think how can I strengthen my feet?! Get your feet massaged. Stretch your feet at night before bed too!
It’s time to start being aware of the amazing muscles in our feet and challenging them to do what they are made to do!
By: Ally Ippolito