Do you often walk around the park barefoot, feeling the grass and dirt in between your toes? Probably not. Most of us don’t – and it’s a shame.
Feet (made up of 26 bones!) are one of the most important parts of your body – meant to provide stability and enable exercise and movement. In our modern lives, however, feet languish in shoes that distort and cramp them (high heels, for example), unable to breathe and express themselves.
The feet have an astounding amount of nerve endings; they are crucial to “proprioception,” the awareness of where your body is in space. Your body’s instinctual knowledge of its place is part of total health. This can only truly be achieved when feet are free to feel everything they’re designed to: texture of the ground, inclines, temperature etc. From inside shoes, feet get none of this information.
What’s more, feet that are neglected will start to contribute to issues like stiffness in muscles and joints throughout the legs, ankles, knees, hips and spine. Caring properly for feet can ease or prevent lots of other pain symptoms.
Wake up your feet!
One exercise to stimulate the feet involves putting a tennis ball under your foot, and rolling back and forth along the whole arch, applying slight pressure and focusing on any tender areas. Do this while sitting at the office or standing in the kitchen, for at least one minute per foot, as often as possible.
Try these foot mobility exercises to improve sensation, flexibility and strength in your feet:
Spread toes apart, then squeeze them together.
Point foot up at the ankle, make circles with entire foot, rotating from the ankle, in both directions: clockwise and counter-clockwise
Massage toes and in-between toes with fingers
From now on, to pamper you feet and get the best results from them, spend as much time as possible barefoot – at home, at the beach or in the garden. The goal is to keep your feet in direct contact with the ground as much as possible. You’ll become more stable, agile and loved by women and men alike.