I can’t help but start this post with an ECard that is quite possibly the most inaccurate description of myself…
If you know me or coach at any of the gyms that I train at, you KNOW and either hate or admire (thankfully my current wonderful coaches are the latter) that I spend an obnoxious amount of time stretching, twisting my body in all sorts of disturbing shapes and jamming lacrosse balls in every crevice of my body. I like to think that I look like some graceful yogi on the cover of Yoga Journal..
But then I take picture of myself…
…and laugh at how far off my vision is from reality.
Over the summer, I contemplated starting weekly ‘Mobility Monday’ blog posts that touched on mobility and recovery. Each week would focus on a specific recovery tool or mobility movements that target specific body parts. I am not a professional with this stuff but my list of daily stretches (from yoga moves to PT stretches) is a mile long and I have enough recovery tools to start my own physical therapy business out of our guest bedroom.
I didn’t end up going through with the Mobility Monday idea because I feared I would get too busy and wouldn’t be able to keep up with the Monday blog posts and because I am not a professional haha. But here I am on a Monday wanting to get a blog post up so I might as well tap into my drafts and post a little Mobility Monday.
“Started from the bottom now we here”
I doubt Drake was talking about foot care, but he has got a point! It all starts in OUR feet. Tight calves? Tight Hamstrings?…the tightness could be contributed to tight feet!
For being intelligent and hard working individuals – runners have a tendency to put blinders on and fixate on the exact spot they feel an ache or pain when in reality, it all may stem from other areas.
We explode off our feet over hundreds of times in a run yet the second we hit the foam roller we gravitate toward the hammies, IT band and quads. Don’t get me wrong, those are all super important areas to take care of but DON’T NEGLECT THE FEET.
Now some of you may be saying, “Well I don’t have plantar fasciitis so why do I need to put myself through the agony of a stiff lacrosse ball rolling over my tender feet?” …well, releasing your feet is far more than preventing/rehabing plantar fasciitis. Stimulating your feet releases and stimulates other areas of the body.
If you are not familiar with reflexology, it is the idea that one part of the body relates to another part of the body. Reflex points on your hands, feet, face and ears are points on the body that correspond to different body organs and systems. Applying pressure to various reflex points can have many beneficial impacts on overall health and tightness. (all learned from being an annoying acunpunture patient that doesn’t relax and just asks a ton of questions)
I will not dig too far into the research but if you have ever been to or talked to an experienced acupuncturist, you will notice that they don’t take all their needles and simply stick them into you hamstring just because you tell them you have a tight hamstring. You will often find needles in and around your feet, hand and wrist as well as other meridians that are associated with your specific complaint.
I will admit, when I first went to my acupuncturist for some high hamstring pain a year ago, I was a bit annoyed that he didn’t poke my high hamstring with a ton of needles. There is that intense runner personality and stubbornness. However, I vividly remember him placing a needle in a area between my ankle and foot and all of a sudden, there was this pressure in my glute area. It was eye opening to see the relationship. I had to pick his brain after the appointment because this idea of channels and meridians was so intriguing and would shed some light on recovery and other steps for taking care of my body aside from being glued to a foam roller.
So now that you have a general sense of how important the feet are, lets talk about how we can stretch and release them. Before I start, let me throw a quick pro and con at you. The PRO – it is fairly easy and can be done while your brushing your teeth, watching TV or simply having a conversation in the kitchen. The CON – it is not the most comfortable feeling in the world…hehe (blog version of a devilish laugh).
Toe Squat – Tuck your toes and just sit back onto your heals. Try to hold this for 2-3 minutes. It will definitely take time to train your feet to make it through 2-3 minutes and some days are more challenging then others. Take breaks in those 2-3 minutes by rolling onto the tops of your feet.
Lacrosse/Tennis/Acumobility Ball – I just roll a lacrosse ball or Acumobility ball (in photos) all over my feet and focus on tender areas and the arches. I used a racquetball to do this in a Yin Yoga class and the instructor told the class to pretend the ball was a crayon and you were drawing all over the bottom of your feet. It seemed like a strange analogy but it actually does make perfect sense.
I can assure you that the feeling is as glamorous as my post marathon feet.
Well that is all I got for Mobility Monday! I have no real education on this topic. I am just a girl that attempts to be graceful in yoga but my runner hips don’t lie so I watch YouTube/Instagram mobility videos and pick the brains of different professionals that do work on me 🙂
Get your mobility game on! In an attempt to get my tired Chicago legs ready for NYC, I need all the mobility I can get!