The Foundations of Movement

How often do you think about your feet? Do you give them much attention from one day to the next? 

If you answer never, rarely, or you haven’t even thought about it, don’t worry, you are not alone. 

I Am Jen Wilson, movement & health rebel here to help you move and feel better in your body.

I am an absolute geek (always learning) and a little bit obsessed when it comes to finding ways in helping you look after your body in a way that works for you - one of my teaching principles is: you don't like it, and it doesn’t work for you, we don't do it. 

I am top heavy on the qualifications... From a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science, PG Dip TQFE, Pilates, Yoga, Meditation, Massage, Personal Trainer, Barefoot specialist, Functional Movement Coach, nutrition coach, tutor, assessor, blah, blah, blah… As I mentioned, I am an absolute geek and I love learning about the body. 

On Your Feet

Back to your feet. The vast majority of people totally neglect their feet. Stomping or shuffling around, cramming them into ill-fitting shoes and generally ignoring them unless they cause pain… This breaks my heart, simple things we can do each day can totally turn this around. 

Our feet are our foundations, they are a masterpiece construction with 26 bones, 33 joints (including the ankle joints), there are 5 arches (that blew my mind), over 7000 nerve endings, and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments pass through EACH foot! 25% of the total number of bones in your body are in your feet (again, another fact that blew my mind).

The body is so amazing and complex that science is still working on and developing an understanding of many of the functions of the body. And remember, science is and should always be asking questions to ensure it’s got it right or if there is more to know. Science has been wrong in thoughts around function (or lack of function of some of our organs) and is always discovering understandings of how things work. One thing that we know from following evolution, is that the body doesn’t have any bone, joint, muscle, nerve ending or organ without a reason and function.  

What we are learning as science continues to develop is that every part of you is there with a job to do.  

Our Foundations

The taller the structure, the stronger the foundations need to be. 

Just about every movement we do, our feet are involved. To get anywhere, walking is involved in some capacity,  it’s the most functional movement we do. One of the major problems I see in clients is their feet are the most neglected part of their bodies. They stick them in a pair of shoes (foot coffins), that are usually too narrow, there is cushioning and support in parts of the feet that should be responsive, the heel is raised too high and with more plastic and rubber being used, a lack of ability for them to breathe and sense the environment around them. Shoes get put on and the feet are forgotten about (unless they are causing pain).

When we have strong, flexible, supportive feet, that allows us to move our bodies in effective and efficient ways and avoid injury, pain and ill-health. 

Foot Function

Other than restricting the movement and pushing the foot into an inhibiting position, another problem with wearing shoes is they de-sensitise the nerve endings in your feet. That means that the signals can’t sense the environment you are in and send the messages through the nervous system to trigger muscle activation in the correct order, or with the right amount of force. Meaning the likelihood for injury (eg. stress fractures, plantar fasciitis etc), falling, wear and tear on the joints is much greater.

The thicker, more cushioned the sole of your shoes, the more desensitised your feet become. Socks too, not just shoes, so when you can, get your feet naked. Your nerve sensitivity peaks at age 40, by the time you reach 70 years of age you need to do twice the work to stimulate the nerve endings!

In addition to that, the older you get, the more at risk you are of tripping and falling. If you watch older people moving around, more and more we are seeing them shuffle about. If the feet aren’t working properly, the legs, butt, core, and back muscles are not going to be responding either. 

Free Your Feet

That’s why I start every Pilates & Yoga session with time on our feet, connecting to our feet, massaging them or rolling them out on a ball - you can use a tennis ball, golf ball, lacrosse ball, spiky massage ball, wooden foot roller. Even if you don’t have a ball, a rolling pin, foam roller, even a can of soup could be used as an alternative or you could get your hands on and give them a massage.  

As you begin to bring more awareness to your feet you will notice how much they can change throughout the day depending on: what shoes you are wearing, how much you have moved around, how much attention you have given them, if you are holding pain anywhere else in your body. 

It doesn’t matter what age you are, practice will reconnect you with your feet. I have clients in their 70's that start working with me and notice a difference in their walking with just a little bit of attention. 

Check out my video below to help you Free Your Feet, build strength and improve mobility:

About the Author

I Am Jen Wilson, movement & health rebel here to help you move and feel better in your body. 

Random facts:

I drink a gallons of tea (mostly herbal blends I make myself, and grow lots)

I have been sober since Sept 2014

I get excited when I see animals 

I love camping and paddle boarding

I live with a condition they call Crohn's

I have lived on the islands of Kos and Gran Canaria and in Australia, but there is no place like home, here in Scotland.  

I work with clients in online live Zoom classes, I have a subscription on demand classes, and work with clients one to one online or in person at my home studio in Springburn.

To learn more about Jen and how she can help or support you, click here.

Nov 14, 2021
The Body

More from 

The Body


View All