If goat yoga is a thing, why not toe yoga?
Toe yoga is indeed a thing that could benefit your health. You can catch a description of what that is on this clip of the Drive Podcast with Peter Attia, but we’ll give you the bullet points below.
Over the past few decades, shoes have gotten more and more robust and restrictive. Think of all the shoes in your closet right now. You probably have some fancy shoes that are tight or pointy and some athletic shoes that are pretty cushioned.
I mean who doesn’t? Fashion is fashion and cushioning is what we’ve been told to look for when buying running or workout shoes. But there is a problem with this evolution in footwear, which boils down to this—if you don’t use it, you lose it.
You see, the more restrictive, cushioned, or supportive your footwear is, the less your toes actually have to work in order for you to move, which over time leads to the lost ability to move your toes.
Think of it this way. Imagine wearing a tight glove on your hands every day for most of your life that squeezes your fingers together and doesn’t allow them to move independently. Now imagine that after decades of wearing those gloves, you were asked to do anything with your hands. Would you be able to do it? Probably not.
I know, I know. It’s not like humans need their toes to chisel a stone into a spearhead or for a more present day example, type out an email newsletter, but the ability to use our toes still matters and impacts our health in more ways than we might realize.
Our toes help us dampen force. Think about how much weight and impact our feet take on a daily basis. It’s no wonder that an estimated 126.6 million Americans experience some sort of musculoskeletal pain. Regardless of how active you are, our bodies take a beating every day and our feet are the first line of defense. If we are losing the ability to dampen force with our toes, it is no wonder that we are seeing more injuries and chronic pain develop upstream in our bodies.
Now, does this mean that foot health is at the root of all pain? Obviously not. We have also gotten more sedentary and our diets are full of more inflammatory foods like those seed and vegetable oils we always talk about. All of those factors are probably contributing to our epidemic of pain, but to ignore the impact our footwear is playing in all this is probably a missed opportunity.
This is where toe yoga comes into play. It can be a powerful tool to simply work on consciously moving your toes every day in order to strengthen those oftentimes overlooked muscles.
The key takeaway? Get your toe yoga on and throw away those clunky shoes and anything pointy. All jokes aside though, incorporating a little barefoot time wiggling and working out your toes and trading in your conventional footwear for something more minimalist could have a huge impact on how the rest of your body feels!