Therapy for the body and sole

When I first learnt Pilates, the feet was something Pilates Master Teacher, Ron Fletcher, talked about and he emphasized a lot of it. He had this 7 standing and centreing cues which forms the foundation and fundamental tool for my teaching. With this understanding, I start all my Pilates classes standing and have been doing so for more than 7 years. Nobody really taught us how to stand when we were young. The very most I hear is “Stand Straight” and that was from my mum! I understood a lot more of this when I started learning the Fletcher Towelwork and the Leg and Footwork on the Pilates equipments.

I chose to bring your attention to the article below when I came across it because I also noticed there aren’t too many Pilates books that give much attention to talking about the feet. At the same time most books go too much in depth that many of you might not be interested to read further so such articles are good to get you started. I wanted us to take a moment today to give more awareness to our feet in our Pilates training and start exercising them!

Article:

Therapy for the body and sole

By | 06/08/10

The thought of running around barefoot in the grass may conjure memories of childhood play, but people are leaving their stuffy gyms and running shoes in the dust to take fitness back to its roots, to move the body the way it was designed. Believe it or not, those fancy shoes may actually be hindering your performance, and your health. With warm weather here, now is the time for you to get in on this innovative, fun and surprisingly beneficial way to work up a sweat.

training tip: Because of our history, in order to safely run barefoot we must undo years of bad habits. Since most Americans grow up wearing shoes and are used to running and walking striking heel first, barefoot running should be eased into by alternating shoe and barefoot runs, and starting out on soft surfaces like grass and sand.

Going au naturel
While running barefoot might seem like all fun and games, it has helped eliminate knee, foot and Achilles pain where running shoes cannot. Researchers have found that those who run in shoes land on the heel of their foot, causing an impact of up to two to three times the runner’s body weight. Multiply that impact with each step you take on a long run and it’s no wonder avid runners are often plagued by repetitive stress injuries. Those who run barefoot, however, tend to land on the ball of their foot, which generates almost no collision force at all. Because of this change in strike, people can run barefoot on some of the hardest surfaces and not feel any pain or discomfort while many shoe runners experience constant knee or foot pain.


Not a runner? You can still reap the benefits of barefoot fitness:
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Yoga
Standing poses that need to be held for an extended period of time (such as tree and dancer), are a great way to challenge your feet and gain overall health.

Pilates
The reformer, or trapeze table, works your feet through their full range of motion against resistance. Joseph Pilates, the founder of Pilates exercise, recognized the importance of foot health and even developed two pieces of equipment just for your piggies—the Toe Tensometer and the Foot Corrector.

Targeted exercises
Build balance, strength and control with the following two exercises. No fancy equipment required… just you and a towel.

1.
Sit with your legs out straight and loop a towel around the arches of both feet. Hold the towel in both hands, gently pulling it toward you and stretching the arches of the foot. Provide a little bit of resistance using the towel and slowly, steadily point your toes. Repeat.
2. Lay a towel flat on the floor and place your toes at the edge. Repeatedly scrunch your toes, pulling the towel towards you, until you reach the end of the towel. Smooth it back out and repeat.

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