Who has back pain – with and without exercise? How about knee pain? Ok, how about shoulder? Do I hear any hip, ankle, or wrist pain? Welcome to Peri-Menopause and Menopause and major hormonal shifts in your body. By the time you enter your 40s and 50s, this one part of your body has already sustained considerable damage. Add in menopause, and the issues compound with improper movement patterns. It is now when you need to start thinking about our exercise program and how we engage this body of ours during exercise and beyond. How we move is equally as important as when, why, and what movement we choose.
Check out some startling statistics:
What part of your body is the most important to you achieving your fitness goals? What one part of our body has 25 bones and 107 ligaments, and over 100 muscles and tendons? Our feet!
Foot pain affects women more than men, ranking among the top 20 reasons for doctor visits among those over age 65, per a 2018 study in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. Our feet initiate the chain of “events” that occur every time they are in contact with the ground. Each “event” that occurs with our feet on the ground depends on proper “footing.” For example, when you “pronate” or lean toward the inside edges of your feet, or when you supinate, lean toward the outside of your feet, every part of your body responds all the way up to the top of your head. When the foundation is off, the rest goes awry.
I liken our bodies to a chain that has links. When those links are weak, ill-shaped, and go unaddressed, it can lead to a multitude of aches and pains. If in this case, it is the feet, so often that pain is followed by doctor’s visits, chiropractor adjustments, physical therapy manipulations, acupuncture, massage, and yes, orthopedic doctors’ offices for a 15-minute conversation about how you need surgery. It can be very costly to have a weakness. You may also be told that you need different shoes or “better insoles.” However, again, insoles will keep your feet from moving and strengthening throughout the day. Most of the time, foot issues are attributed to weak feet.
My Covid chronic injury was Piriformis Syndrome due to weakness and lack of engagement of my left big toe. Literally, my big toe was causing all kinds of trouble for me – neck down.
Want to know if you have weak feet? Here are three ways to find out!
What can you do about it?
Touch your feet. Giving them that skin-on-skin stimulation, even massaging them, will help your feet get more neural stimulation and heal.
Take off your shoes! Going barefoot is how we are intended to move. Our ancestors didn’t’ have insoles and inserts to help them move about. They walked long distances on bare feet. They didn’t have bunions, knee, back, and the plethora of issues we hear about daily.
Stand on one leg. This can be a source of truth for a bunch of strength tests, yet if you really feel it in your feet (or elsewhere) I think you know the culprit.
Toe spreads. With your heel on the ground, lift your toes and work on spreading them apart as wide as possible. Try to return them to the floor still spread out.
Towel grabs. Use the toes to pick up a towel off the floor. This is not easy yet, so good for you!
Walk barefoot on a variety of terrain. The foot gets stronger with tactile response and input from the Earth. When challenged with grass, concrete, cobblestone, or uneven terrain, we provide the foot with an environment that can improve its versatility and strength.
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Alexandria Wellness offers achievable answers for anyone who is tired of chasing fitness and health without a clear plan, someone who has struggled and is not satisfied with their fitness and wellness or someone who is open to maximized healthful longevity and fitness along with healthful weight loss. Adrien and her team offer help with food guidance, body acceptance, sleep and stress issues, and insist you have fun along the way.
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215 North Payne Street
Alexandria, VA 22314