Why I use minimalist footwear

personal trainer functional exercise
I wear minimalist shoes for running and everyday use.

As a personal trainer and functional exercise specialist I understand the importance of proper biomechanics. Your feet are your roots and foundations. Buildings and trees need good foundations and roots to be able to function properly. We are the same! We need good biomechanics to move freely and with proper form, and the starting point for good form comes from your connection to the ground.

Headaches, shoulder pain, back pain, and knee pain can all have the same source of the cause. The foot!

Raise your heel and squash your toes together as most regular shoes do to the feet and instantly your fighting to correct it and as a result you lean forward from the ankle, you have to correct that by leaning back knocking the hips out of the neutral position its supposed to be in and increasing the curve of your lumbar spine. Do this for long enough and you not only get compromised posture, but it also leads to lower back pain. Add to this sitting with poor posture in front of a computer for too long and you really start to add some stress to your body!

The foot is a really complex structure which acts as a stable base to support us, and also has the ability to bend and flex to grip the ground allowing us to dynamically move and transfer weight in all directions. When it’s functioning well we have really good balance. When its function is compromised our balance is also compromised, leading to increased risk of falling.

To put things into context, think about wearing a very stiff and inflexible glove for 12-15 hours every day. Do you think your fingers and hands would be as effective and even function properly? What would happen is the muscles that move the fingers would atrophy causing reduced function.
This is exactly what stiff narrow shoes with arch support do to the foot. Think about that for a bit!

There are many exercises to strengthen the foot, the first one is really simple and you can do it at home. Simply take your shoes off!

Many of the common foot problems are recurring issues, and can be prevented by allowing your foot to work as it’s intended. Orthotics and cushioned shoes might seem to make your problems go away but the underlying cause is still there! I don’t recommend a sudden change from using orthotics to going full time barefoot, but with gradual progressions its possible to prevent or fix a lot of issues and reverse a lifetime of pain. (consult with your physician if you have been prescribed orthotics!)

To get the foot ready for everyday load bearing tasks I have lots of suitable exercises.

If you are interested in learning more about good functional movement, posture, balance and foot strength let’s talk. Follow my page Active4Health and visit my website and blog. Contact me for more info on appointment availability.

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