A crazy weather front came through today, with gusts of wind up to 100km/hr. A good day to be inside when you live in a forest. It was predicted to hit late morning, so the little ‘un and I headed out into the freezing cold rain while it was still calm.
This kid LOVES to swing. She doesn’t have many words, but “swing” is one of them. She could sit in that thing all day. And since she doesn’t understand the physics behind pumping legs yet, I get to stand behind her, all. day. The view’s not bad so I don’t usually mind.
The thing is, we’re outside. Outside to me means “Let’s move!”. Let’s walk, explore, etc… Standing still outside is hard for me, and it gets a bit old after the first 20 minutes of swing pushing.
So, I multi-task. I step on rocks.
Hear me out.
Your feet have 33 joints in them, each. Which doesn’t sound so impressive maybe, but consider… Each shoulder has four joints. Your elbow has three, your knee has two and your not-as-mobile-as-it-should-be-but-still-plenty-mobile hip has ONE. Think about how much movement happens at these 10 joints. Now consider how much movement we might (should?) expect from an area of the body with THIRTY-THREE joints… (An aside: there are six different types of joints in the body, click here for a good overview of each type.)
Now the feet are small, relative to the rest of the body, so the movements at the THIRTY-THREE joints in each of them will also be relatively small. The movements are even smaller than “relatively small” in most (let’s say just about ALL) of us, since from a very young age our feet have been encased in shoes of varying rigidity and compression. Small, or not, there should be lots more movement happening than there is.
You know that feeling when you get out of the car after driving for 8 hours? (If you’re from Northern Ontario like I am, you definitely know what I’m talking about). You stand up and everything is just SO stiff in car seat shape for a few minutes until you get moving again. Consider: Your feet have been driving your body for DECADES, and they have probably almost never stopped being shoe shape. Your feet are STIFF. I’d love to show you how stiff sometime (there’s a workshop for that!). But for now, believe me. They’re stiff.
And so, I stand on rocks. Mobilizing all those joints doesn’t just feel good–it stretches/moves/works the MANY muscles of the foot (See here for more than you’ve ever wanted to know about foot muscles). You’ll get blood flowing in places where it’s become downright sluggish, and it’ll help increase your proprioception (better proprioception means better balance, decreased risk of ankle sprains, and a whole host of other amazing benefits). Your feet will feel better and work better. So simple and so effective.
I keep 3 rocks of varying shapes behind the swing. As I stand there, for hours and hours, I step in place on the rocks, making sure to get the pressure in as many areas as I can find.
You might not get as much swing-pushing time as I do, but I bet you find yourself standing still at points during the day. Brushing your teeth? Washing dishes? Standing in front of the stove? You don’t have to bring rocks inside–try the lego that’s already all over the floor 🙂