With 250,000 nerve endings, the sole of the foot has been designed to be a movement sensor.
Making sense of movement
Our movement is dictated by our ability to sense our environment. When we experience poor feedback via our senses, we exhibit poor movement. Think back to the last time you had to get out of bed in the dark to go to the bathroom. You probably had to feel around with your hands and feet; your movement was slower, hesitant and slightly fearful. When your vision is not impaired, moving is easier.
However, what’s interesting is that research shows that vision contributes only 10% of sensory input during movement. A further 20% comes from the vestibular system (part of the inner ear responsible for balance). However, 70% of sensory input comes from the lower leg – and it’s thought that most of this comes via the sole of the foot.
Further evidence of the role the foot plays during movement comes from the following fact: the sole of the foot has 250,000 nerve endings. Nature evolved it to be a movement sensor. Up to the age of 4, this sensory apparatus allowed us to be highly competent movers. Then most of us began the lifelong journey of sedentary living and poor footwear, causing us to disconnect from our feet, movement and environment. 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?
Feeding the sole
At EVO, we believe that healthy feet = healthy movement. Therefore, every club has invested in the best technology and training to support healthy feet. Your training is important, and we want you to make the most out of every workout, and remain efficient and injury-free. We have installed plantar (pressure) plates in every club – a force platform that takes a ‘live footprint’ of your feet, giving us valuable information about posture, balance, strength and elasticity. With this information, we will teach you the skill of standing, squatting, walking and running – which we consider important foundations of human movement.
Alongside this technology, all EVO Personal Trainers are approved to teach you Toe-ga – ‘yoga for the toes’ – a sequence of foot/ankle exercises designed to improve strength, mobility and elasticity.
In addition, we fully support training in bare feet, where and when appropriate. And if you prefer to wear shoes, we can also provide expert guidance on choosing suitable barefoot shoes.
When reawakened and reconnected to the ground, the feet serve 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. Of course, this can take time, and it’s important to pay your feet the same attention as you would any other part of the body. The question is not whether barefoot is best, but whether it’s worth the time and effort in making your feet stronger?
Do you already know our Workout of the month: Movement Balance?