I have two ongoing body experiments right now that I wanted to journal about, lest I forget my progress.
I am currently 2.5 weeks into changing the way I walk, so that my “flat feet” develop the proper arch support to carry my big-ass frame.
Things I’m starting to realize: I typically put most of my weight in my heels when I walk, then let the rest of my foot sort of slap down. I figured this out by wearing flat ballerina-type shoes for a few days in a row while doing a ton of walking: my heels began aching and I began dreading each step.
Then, I remembered my father’s voice from childhood: “Stop stomping around the house.” “Walk more quietly.” We had a trailer house and footsteps in one end of the house could be easily vibrated through to the other end. I had no idea what he meant at the time. I thought it felt weird to step softly or tiptoe around, so I basically ignored his rather good advice.
My feet always felt and looked “flat” growing up. My feet would burn and fatigue quickly during activities where my foot was confined to a straight forward position, like ice skating or roller skating or skiing, or if I had to do basketball shuffle drills for any length of time where you stay on the balls of the feet. But no one understood the issue properly enough to address it with me I suppose.
My feet are large (size 11), so this may account for me getting “lazy” about using them.
A side effect of not properly rolling forward onto the front pads of the feet was that my posture had to adjust accordingly to keep me centered. My butt sticks out farther back, my stomach pushes forward more, and my shoulders are more forward. As a result of my slightly forward shoulder posture, my shoulders became more unstable, likely leading to my shoulder ligament tear my junior year of high school, and subsequent 2 shoulder surgeries. I tried to “fix” my posture in college by sitting up straighter, which just ended up in me looking awkward to people, like I was trying too hard to sit up straight. I needed to sit up straight from the ground-up.
Also, I sustained many injuries to my ankles, especially in basketball games. This can be explained by the fact that my feet would flop down, and they lost their innate ability to “paw” the ground front/back and side-to-side. As a result, if I caught an edge of anything, my atrophied feet muscles were of no help, so the next joint up got the brunt of the force: the ankles.
My experiment, which basically involves:
- Wearing flat-soled shoes
- Walking “softly”, rolling completely onto the balls of the feet
- Keeping the toes and heels pointing forward, preventing foot eversion in my case
- Keeping the feet hips-width apart (two fists’ width) rather than my tendency to walk like a supermodel, one foot in front of the other, as I was taught to by television at a young age
…is teaching me that I haven’t been using my lower calf muscles at all to walk. My lower calves BURNED for about the first 2 weeks of my experiment. Granted, I spent the first 2 days walking entirely on my balls of the feet and barely touching the heels at all, to see if that was better. I decided that, no, the heels need to land very softly.
What I notice when I walk more correctly, is that I feel taller, lighter, and like more work is being done by my feet and calves to walk. Much more energy out of the lower legs. Finally TODAY, the lower legs have adapted to the work and do not feel as sore anymore. And my belly comes in slightly.
AND…I am developing a little arch in my feet already! I took a picture tonight. I will have to find some old pictures of my bare feet from childhood, if possible, for comparison, then I will post them. I know I have pictures of my flat footed footprints after walking at the beach and it looks like bigfoot has stomped through there, rather than that cute little arched footprint most people should have.
So far, so successful.
Today I decided to utilize the -1.25 contact lenses I have for my left eye, for my right eye only (currently -3.00). If I don’t wear a left contact lens, then both of my eyes are roughly at the same -1.25 level of blurriness. This feels much better to me than wearing the -1.25 correction in both eyes. I feel like my “good” eye was just taking over for the weaker eye when it was adjusted to 20/20, so with them both at the same level of sight, I expect I can progress faster with my focus and relaxation exercises, which I started doing on the MUNI. It’s only Day 1, so more progress to come, I hope. My left eyelid is slightly lazier, I suspect because it has had to compensate more in its life. I’m hoping that by “fixing” my vision, that I will also improve my appearance by both eyelids and eyebrows raising similarly.