Our bodies are like Skyscrapers: They require a great deal of structural integrity to endure, day after day, the impact of environmental circumstances.
I lived with my nephew, Lucas, from the day he was born until he was almost four years old. One of our favourite activities was to build towers with his blocks. He would start by dumping the huge bag of multi-coloured blocks all over the floor. Before he had a chance to grab one, I would force him to stop and reflect on a very important question:
“hey buddy, what is the key to building a strong tower that won’t fall down?”
He would respond cutely with, “a solid base of support”
To which I would reply, my chin quivering with Auntie pride, “good man. Let’s do it!”
Lucas first learned the hard way that if he did not build a strong base for his tower, it would end up collapsing. He also learned that as his design took shape, removing a block from the bottom would cause an imbalance that would also lead to collapse. Neither of these led to very favorable outcomes. Therefore, he knew he would have a higher likelihood of completing and admiring his work if he gave a little extra attention to its foundation.
The human body is like a skyscraper (or like one of Lucas’s towers): structural integrity is crucial. Especially since, we as humans (unlike towers), place high demands on our bodies by performing various actions on a daily basis. Since the human body is an intricate, interconnected system, if there is any form of weakness or instability in our foundation, it travels up the chain and can impact several areas of the body (i.e. knees, hips, back). Of course, the foundation we are referring to here is our feet. They are the primary interaction channel between the ground and the rest of our bodies. Maintaining proper foot health is essential for performing our daily tasks with efficiency and for preventing injuries.
To demonstrate just how much our feet effect the rest of our bodies, try this little experiment:
- Begin by standing with your feet together, knees slightly bent. Keeping your back straight, bend at the hips and try to touch your toes (without bending your knees any further). Pause here for 10 seconds. How close are you to touching your toes (no cheating!). Take a mental note of how this feels throughout the rest of your body. Carefully stand up straight.
- Using a small ball (i.e. tennis, lacrosse, golf) spend 1-2 minutes balancing on your right foot and rolling your right foot out with the ball. Spend a few extra seconds in particularly tender areas. This should feel uncomfortable but try not to apply so much pressure that it is incredibly painful.
- Now, before rolling out your right foot, try to touch your toes again (step 1). What do you feel? Does your left side feel different from your right?
- Now roll out your other foot for 1-2 minutes and try to touch your toes again. Now what do you feel?
Isn’t it incredible how just a couple of minutes spent focusing on your feet can change how your entire body feels as a whole? I agree that spending time caring for your feet can seem like a daunting task. But, as you can see, just 5-10 minutes a day can make a huge difference in how your performs throughout the day. This can be done in many different ways: by rolling out your feet, stretching your toes, or spending time in your bare feet or walking in barefoot shoes.
Dedicate yourself to the process: your feet and body will thank you for it!