The Footrest

Today’s Lesson: Take care of the foundation upon which you stand.


I have really been getting into the work of biomechanist Katy Bowman and her knowledge of movement, and how we load and stack the components of our bodies. We are reading her first book, “Every Woman’s Guide To Foot Pain Relief” (it’s for men, too, and she has lots of books and a podcast called “Katy Says”–just click on her name for a link to her stuff) and she taught me a few things about feet I had never considered. Think about this:

Your feet have to support the entire structure of your body (whatever shape your body is in), yet most of us know hardly anything about how they work, or how they should work.

Aching feet can contribute to weight problems. When your feet hurt, you do not do the most obvious thing you can do to lose weight–walk! You might even avoid moving altogether because your body is telling you to let your feet rest. The problem is, many people have perpetual foot pain.

The muscles in our feet and legs have basically atrophied into adulthood. Consider how much you time you sit with your legs bent as an adult (in your chair at work, on your couch, in your car, on your patio swing, etc.). Compare that to how much time you spend with your legs moving, stretched out, and flexing (running, climbing, swimming, jumping, kicking, etc.). No contest, right? Probably 12-15 hours of sitting versus 1-3 hours of active movement. For extra fun, watch your pre-schoolers. They even watch television with their legs stretched out, lying on the floor. They can not stop moving. No wonder they are so limber!

Until recently, I absolutely abused my feet. That’s actually not fair. In truth, I was not even really aware of them (except when they were aching). If you take care of your feet, they will take care of the rest of you. They will allow you to move, stand, be active, and explore.

Your feet are both literally and figuratively your foundation, and any structure that lasts a long time starts with a strong foundation.