Pilates and Your Feet
Most of us will freely admit that we love shoes. I, for one, am crazy about them – I have so much money invested in shoes, I could probably feed the local high school lunch for an entire year. Now if you’ve ever seen my feet, you’ll say that I’m probably trying to cover something up, and, okay, I might admit that’s true. I thought about inserting a photo [here], but I’d like to keep as many subscribers as possible….. but c’mon – how many of us love our feet? Well – let’s think about that. Before this article turns into “Maria’s Anatomy 101,” let me explain what I mean by love.
Loving your feet is appreciating them for what they are and taking care of them so they can do their job, the same way you should love your heart, your lungs and your lower intestine! Unless you are lucky enough to have a lifestyle that permits it, you spend most of your days with shoes on. If your feet are lucky, you wear good shoes – shoes that allow your feet to move and breathe. If your feet are unlucky, you wear high heels most of the time and often cram them into very uncomfortable shoes, even if they are Jimmy Choos. 🙂
When you think about exercise, I bet you rarely think about exercising the muscles in your feet. Thoughts of exercise usually involve wearing sneakers anyway. So many people I run with have been told that they need to wear shoe inserts because of the condition of their feet, but they’ve never been told to exercise the MUSCLES in their feet. After doing some very simple Pilates exercises these same people would be able to throw their inserts out.
Your feet contain muscles just like the rest of your body and they need to be taken care of in order to function well and without pain. Along with exercise, massage is wonderful and if you have someone who is willing to do it for you even better! ( let’s hope our significant-others are reading this ) If not, then find a good massage therapist and make sure they massage your feet….last resort, give yourself a regular foot massage. Get some massage oil, sit down somewhere warm and comfortable, and pay some attention to your feet.
How often do you pay attention to the way you stand? If you are like me you aren’t often standing still, and if you do find yourself with a few spare moments you are probably not thinking about your posture. But here is a really simple exercise you can do right now that will change the way your body feels and moves.
Stand up with your heels together and your toes apart. ( Pilates V ) Squeeze your legs together and pull your stomach muscles strongly towards your spine. Take a few moments to feel the weight in your feet. Stand so that you feel even pressure on both feet. You shouldn’t feel more weight in your left foot than your right foot or more weight towards the front of your feet than the back. Place your weight EVENLY on both feet. Enjoy how balanced your body feels and do this as often as you can.
Most of us stand with our posture all over the place. We carry our children on one side all the time and try to do 101 things all at once. We are usually leaning on one leg with all our weight in one hip. When we do this over years it creates imbalances, which lead to pain. We stand a lot in our daily life, watching our kids play sports, waiting in line, cooking, or at work. All these times are great opportunities to use this exercise and begin developing your strong ‘standing’ body.
Here are four things you can do to help keep your feet in good shape.
The first one, as I mentioned above, is massage. Do it yourself or get someone else to help you out. A few minutes once a week will make a big difference.
The second one is a follow-up from the body tip above. Stand with your heels together, your toes apart, squeeze your legs together and pull your abdominal muscles strongly to your spine. Place your weight evenly on both feet. Keeping your weight even and your heels together, slowly rise up onto your toes. Only lift as high as you can and keep your weight even and your heels together! Repeat this a few times, and try it a couple of times a day.
This third tip you can do standing or sitting. Simply try to separate all your toes. Spread them all out so that none of them are touching and see if you can move each toe. This one is fun. As you get better at it you will be able to see all the muscles and bones move throughout your foot.
Lastly, go see the wonderful instructors at Studio Be Fairfax who can work magic on your feet. They will give you – or help you to keep – strong, amazing and capable feet – that you will love. Heck, I even look at my feet sometimes during footwork and whisper sweet nothings….
Suite 215 | 4211 Fairfax Corner East Ave., Fairfax, VA 22030 | Phone: 703-222-0122