Your feet play an important role in your health and happiness. Treat them well and listen when they talk to you.
I bought a pair of Vibram five-fingered shoes–the kind with minimal padding and separate slots for each toe. The idea is to make it the next best thing to walking barefoot, with minimal protection and maximum flexibility. The shoes come with instructions that tell you not to wear them until you follow a two to three-week exercise regimen for your feet.
I doubt most people follow those instructions if they read them at all but I gave it a shot. The exercises are easy but there are a LOT of boring repetitions. Nonetheless, I have been sticking to it and at the same time reading up about foot health and learning how to walk and run better. Nicole has crazy physiological knowledge of muscles and bones so it helps to have someone I can ask questions about my feet.
Anyway, all the foot exercises and stretches have really made me aware of how much power my feet have over my mood, energy, and general well-being. I noticed when they ache (which was often), my usually good attitude diminishes as does my desire to move.
When you think about it, your feet are your primary connection to the earth and they are loaded with muscles and nerves that give you constant, immediate feedback. If you are like me, though, your feet are an afterthought at best. They just take you from one place to the next and sometimes they ache and sometimes they don’t.
Putting some effort into strengthening and lengthening all the muscles in my feet has definitely had a positive impact.
Here is a quick tip: when you are sitting at home, keep one of those rigid spiked plastic laundry balls under your desk or chair. Absent-mindedly roll it under your arch, heel, and between your toes while you type or watch a show. It is a great massage and provides light muscle work.
We should listen to our feet as much as we listen to other people. They speak to us more often and, let’s face it, our feet usually have more important things to discuss.