This week I read Laird Hamilton’s 10-point plan to live forever. This was prompted by my partner telling me about the podcast he had been listening to, where he heard about how Laird Hamilton ‘golf balls his feet’ to relieve tension. The premise is that the earth has energy that matches our own and so walking in bare feet allows us to be grounded and absorb that energy. If we have our feet squashed into shoes for too long then the amount of energy we have is less. The idea is that by applying pressure to the feet with a ball, it releases tension.
This made me think about the feeling that I have every time I get to the beach. I can’t wait to take my shoes off and walk barefoot on the sand. The sensation of the undulations in the beach on my feet is instant therapy to me and I’m immediately relaxed and taken away from whatever I’ve been thinking about previously. Perhaps this is foot fitness.
I hadn’t acknowledged that sense of grounding the beach gives me before. I just take it for granted that I am happiest without shoes. I love to do my workouts on the beach without trainers and always encourage my participants to try it too (building up gently). Barefoot running on the beach is freeing. When you walk barefoot your senses are heightened, a wonderful feeling when you compare it to the numbness of footwear or indeed the pain of shoes for appearance.
In our modern society perhaps we should start thinking more about foot fitness and prioritise their care. Our feet are our first point of contact with the ground every day and yet we keep them restricted or contorted in unnatural shapes with our shoes, affecting our whole sense of balance and posture. Shoes are an essential part of our lives, but I think it is important to think about how much time we spend in certain types of shoes and how much care we give to our feet at the end of the day.
If we think about it, it makes perfect sense that walking bare foot on the beach is therapeutic as it allows our feet to spread to their natural position and the sand naturally shapes to absorb the impact. We feel sensation between our toes and under the arches which make us feel more aware, and wakes up the senses. The sand presses into our feet and moves as we move, massaging as we walk which promotes feelings of relaxation.
I looked at my partner who had a ball in his hand ready to demonstrate Laird Hamilton’s technique and thought meh, I could use that for massaging my feet instead. The reality was painful (as was standing on it)! I’ve since been thinking about foot fitness and how tension in the feet potentially affects other areas of the body. I’m planning to learn more about the feet and experiment with different ways to release tension when I can’t walk barefoot on the beach. I think it is time to start thinking from the ground up.