Category Archives: Physical Therapy

Healthy Feet Mean Healthy You

Going barefoot is a natural state of being for us, especially Indians. Even now, in some Indian villages, people spend almost 100% of their time barefoot. Many wander through fields and do hard, physical laborious work, and yet they rarely develop any feet problems. Instead, it has been proven that being barefoot actually strengthens your feet to support the rest of your body the way nature intended, which is one reason why barefoot training has taken a huge leap forward in recent years.

Wearing different types of footwear and always keeping our feet confined and protected actually has the opposite effect to strengthening. We are providing cushions and insulation to our feet, which then make our feet dormant and lazy, after which foot problems can arise (which we blame on footwear and the ground!). Think of it this way – why are humans the only species on earth who feel the need to wear shoes?

Going barefoot also improves our proprioception – which is the sensory input we receive from the soles of our feet, which plays a role in our stability, balance and coordination. It helps us to connect to the earth and to the environment, thereby allowing us to move in every way possible. The more stable the body, the more benefits we can reap from our workouts. Our feet create stability and help our body feel safe – and this stability allows us to progress further in all our workouts, without the danger of losing balance.

Feet affect everything – almost all of us know about the reflexology points in the soles of our feet, which connect to all parts of our body and nervous system. Your foot is connected to your core (pelvic floor and abdominal) – so all the more reason to train barefoot, to give you a strong core, flat abs, prevent back pain and improve running speed.

More benefits of working out barefoot include: stronger arches, improved muscle alignment, stronger ankles, increased flexibility, and healthier feet overall. It also strengthens our entire body by helping energy to flow smoothly through our body.

Barefoot running has gained huge popularity in the past decade, but several other regimes can be followed on a barefoot program, including yoga, martial arts, gymnastics etc. Barefoot and minimalist training is the most ideal way to workout, however your body needs to be properly prepared first. At Holistique, you get to train under Barefoot Master Instructor and Physiotherapist (Dr Anuja Luniya), and the program fuses a blend of workout styles conducted entirely barefoot, which gives additional benefits which you now know!

Exercise and the Indian Woman (part 2)

Let’s talk about exercise, fitness and health in the Indian setting. Enough has been written about this topic from a western perspective, and now that the fitness trend is picking up in India, we ought to embrace this movement!

Women’s fitness in particular has picked up significantly, with women-centric studios and programs cropping up. We all know exercise is essential, especially due to our sedentary lifestyles. For women this is all the more important – from young girls, to post menopausal women, and everyone in between. The benefits of exercise for women are countless throughout all stages of life. From building bone strength and muscle mass to preventing gynecological problems to restoring posture, balance and functional independence, the benefits are endless. And today’s Indian woman knows it!

And yet, the question remains: why do only 10-15% of Indian women exercise? What about the other 90-85%? The myriad of reasons for women not having time to exercise is astounding. Health cannot and should not be taken for granted! It’s always better to jump on the prevention bandwagon first, rather than learn the hard way.

Now, exercise does not mean a walk in the park for an hour. There are a variety of workout styles for a reason. Women need to incorporate strength training, especially Indian women (more on why in a later blog). Your exercise toolkit should have a variety of workout styles so that you achieve not just the weight loss benefit but other benefits of exercise. And sorry ladies, stretching is not working out! And doing cardio to lose those tyres isn’t going to work! Walking, jogging, running, cycling or an hours Aerobics/Zumba (no matter how much fun) are all good but alone, are not enough to keep you fit. Cardio is only one aspect of fitness. You need strength, balance, agility, power, flexibility, reduced risk of lifestyle diseases and hormonal balance too. You need exercises to keep you gynecologically healthy (the number of young girls with PCOD is on the rise and so is the number of women going in for IVF).

Exercise to show and maintain results requires sincerity, dedication and perseverance. Before joining a class, make sure you get to know what the exercise program is all about. Does it interest you? Do you think you can persevere with it? Always choose a program that you will be able to enjoy and sustain, because that’ll keep you from quitting.

Healthy living is not by chance. It’s a choice. A lot of little choices you make everyday to live healthy. Now ask yourself, do you really want to take your health for granted?