There’s a reason why the sole of the foot has 250,000 nerve endings. Nature evolved it to be a movement sensor. Up to the age of 4 yrs, this sensory apparatus allowed us to be highly competent movers. Think about it for a moment – as babies and young children, the feet are highly sensitive structures whose sole (pun intended!) purpose was to feel the environment. Back then, our feet were strong, mobile and elastic. The perfect training shoe.
FORGETTING THE FEET
Then most of us began the lifelong journey of sedentary living and poor footwear, causing us to disconnect from our feet, movement and environment. The moment we start school, this disconnect begins. We wear shoes that are sold to us as ‘protective’, causing the feet, ankles and toes to move less, and ultimately weaken. Yet as young children, our feet had all the technology we needed for optimal health and function.
FOUNDATION OF MOVEMENT
Movement begins from the ground up – our feet are the only body parts in contact with the ground for most of the day. Yet how many of us look after our feet in the same way as the rest of the body? We spend hours each week training our bodies in the quest for fitness, health and aesthetics. We wear clothing that allows our body to move and breathe, yet our feet remain locked up in rigid cages, slowly becoming weaker, inelastic and immobile.
FOOTING THE BILL
Years of abuse means we are literally paying the price on our feet. The growing prevalence of foot pain and dysfunction due to dysfunctional feet is unacceptable. But the consequent movement impairment is just as alarming. When the toes become weak (specifically the big toe) we lose the natural ability to balance and move across a stable base – as a result, the ankle may stiffen up to maintain stability and balance. When the sole of the foot stiffens (through rigid shoes and lack of use) we lose the natural flexibility that allows the foot to rock efficiently during locomotion. The result is compensatory movement further up the body.
We have a plantar plate in every EVO club, because we know that good movement starts with good feet – ask any 4yr old. The plantar plate is a powerful tool for assessing foot and ankle strength, mobility and elasticity – the three attributes of a natural foot. When these are present, the foot serves as a highly effective platform for force transfer in almost every movement. In a nutshell, this means lower economy of effort and lower risk of injury. A healthy foot has all the technology it needs for efficient movement and lifelong health. If you would like to know how healthy your feet are right now, speak to one of our Personal Trainers and book an assessment with them. In addition to assessing your current foot and ankle strength and mobility, they will also show you specific exercises – called Toe-ga – designed to improve strength and mobility, and combat the effects of poor footwear. And if you’re serious about lifelong foot health and optimal movement, then our Personal Trainers will also provide guidance on selecting the best footwear for training and lifestyle.
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Have you already seen our Exercise of the week, TRX chest press?