The temperature outside is a lovely 24 C / 76 F, fantastic weather for a walk! As I am now back in Austin, Texas visiting my parents this walk is different than wandering big cities aimlessly for hours! They have a really nice walking/ biking trail behind their home that is part of a grassy trail that goes for more than 6 miles. It encompasses several parks and a dam. I usually do about 3.5 miles roundtrip. People are very friendly here so many times they will say hello to you as you pass by.
I thought I would outline what I focus on internally while I do my walks
Firstly, I love my almost barefoot sneakers. They have nice wide room for my toes. And they have barely any heel so my whole foot is making contact with the trail.
Feet face forward.
Heel strikes first.
Belly relaxed – so I’m not sucking in or up. I let the belly be dynamic, I don’t hold it in one position.
Pelvis in Neutral – ASIS and Pubic symphysis are not aiming toward the floor or toward the ceiling (no tucking or tipping) – just on the same plane.
Arms reciprocally swinging. What is that? opposite arm to opposite leg. They swing..
I try to keep my ribs pretty soft – which to me means that I don’t thrust my ribs forward but aim for them to be as neutral as possible (lower ribs over ASIS bones).
I try to keep my focus to the horizon and not so much down – funny that I find myself looking down and I notice my dad does too! We copy the habits we most see. (Although he claims he finds loose change this way!) But remember the head is heavy, so keep it propped on your spine.
This probably seems like a lot to think about! And I do have an obsessive mind. I do it dynamically. As I am walking I will just check in and see if all these things are as described.. sometimes I might look down to check my feet because all of a sudden i notice my knee is bothering me a bit – so i check my feet and i check my pelvis.
I make sure to really breathe deeply on occasion and be grateful that I can enjoy long walks.
How was your last walk?
I absolutely cannot get enough of all the foot information I am absorbing from my Science of Healthy Feet course to become a certified Healthy Foot practitioner.
Besides Katy Bowman’s book, Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief: The New Science of Healthy Feet this article Why Shoes Make Normal Gait Impossible by Dr. William Rossi has fantastic pictures and EXCELLENT information on how shoes have basically ruined our lives!!
Although Dr. Rossi wrote the article in 1999 and yes, now there is a big barefoot movement going on, the information he provides is so clear.
The highlights of the article include:
1) Well, how do we define normal vs natural – normal being acceptable or average, like the common cold is normal but is it healthy or natural? NO! Natural being an ideal state, the ideal form and function. Shoes have disabled our natural gait.
2) A thorough analysis of HEELS. When we are barefoot there should be a perpendicular line with the straight body column that creates a 90 degree angle to the floor. Guess what heels do? Throw that way out of line! And the body needs to compensate for that angle of the heels. Not only that but the natural path of weight stress when walking is completely altered. NO WONDER our bodies hurt all over when we are in heels. (check out those pictures in the article.)
3) An analysis of the parts of the shoe construction and design and how they RUIN our feet. Firstly, when we are barefoot our toes (should) rest on the floor, flat on the floor, as they assist in grasping the floor to help us move. When those poor guys are in a shoe there is a general design in a shoe in the toe box called toe spring, which means the toes are lifted slant-wise off the ground. So no way are they able to help us in moving, walking. Not only this but the combination of these tilted up toes and then the downward slant of your foot from a raised heel creates an angle where all the pressure converges. And guess what? it’s not a healthy place! It is around about the ball of your feet. And then on top of that, the shoes are usually made very narrow further putting pressure on those digits and forcing the metatarsals to take the weight.
And there’s more – but I hope you will read it for yourself. Consider your shoes. Consider what you are doing FOR your feet when they are not in shoes.
And look for my class offering FOR JUST YOUR FEET coming soon!