Flexible, Grounded Feet=A Strong Core

Until I got really nerdy about my running stride 10 years ago, I was quite foot phobic. We pay for others to touch our feet or hope for a little love from our significant other on the couch, but most of us don't consciously massage our feet like we foam roll our legs or actively strengthen our feet like we do our arms. It's funny because our feet are our main mode of transport yet they're low on the self-care totem pole.

Grounded feet help with balance.

Grounded feet help with balance.

How are the feet related to core stability and strength?

The feet aren't what I call Hollywood Muscles. No one is going to eye you up at the pool for your toe muscles. Yet, the feet mirror our core muscles and help to support deep, instrinsic movement from the core with every step. The feet are the first in a series of archways to the body that act as suspension bridges and shock absorbers as we move. Two of those other archways, or diaphragms, are the pelvic (read: pelvic floor) and breathing diaphragms. If you've read some of my other posts, you already know how much I love talking about these diaphragms, more about that here and here...because, they are the real foundation to core strength! Yes, people, I know most of you out there probably hate ab exercises. Good news is, if you keep your feet relaxed and open, you're always exercising your core muscles.

The feet should act as little trampolines as we walk, but they often become more like bricks of ice because of the types of shoes we wear (more about that here) and from breath holding--once again, you hold in one diaphragm, the others are affected.

Open feet are grounded feet.

Keeping the feet loose and open, has an impact on shoulder tension as well. When our body feels supported by the earth, we cease to put the weight of the world on our shoulders. All of that goes into the ground, also known as grounding or earthing. :)

Here is a simple way to open your feet, even while you watch tv. 

Once your feet are relaxed, you can get even deeper into strengthening them. I love this set of exercises, because it helps to restore the motions our feet most often forget, spreading and using the sole of the foot. Kind of like how our pelvic muscles atrophy sitting in a chair all day, the sole of the foot weakens from wearing shoes all the time. This is a small sample of a series of exercises I do with my clients to wake up their feet and consciously connect that feeling to their core as they walk and move. Afterward my clients often say they feel like their feet are wider and that they can sense the pads of their feet. I call it Frodo feet!

The new sensory awareness from open feet will not just help you ground, it will also help your balance in other activities like yoga, martial arts and dance, not to mention walking. For a more personalized connection to those activities, including gait, make an appointment to come to the studio. In the meantime, opening and grounding your feet will have you using your core in a deep and profound way without even trying!