Gaitway to Health Blog

Foot Feat for Kids

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My Quest for Whole Body Alignment began as a way to be a role model of health for my 3-year-olds (there are two of them). Since my alignment was way less than perfect, and since little kids emulate adults, I figured I better work hard to change my habits so as not to negatively influence their already perfect form. 

Yet, as my alignment has improved over the last two years, theirs has declined. For better or worse, I'm not their only influence. Something as innocent as coloring has cramped their fingers, while just a few hours of sitting a day (at meals and during car rides) has shortened their psoas, hamstrings and calf muscles. But the one that REALLY burns me up, is that from September to December of 2011, around the time they turned 4, their foot position while standing and walking changed. They went from standing and walking with feet pelvis width apart and having strong lateral hip muscles, to standing and walking with feet together and having weak lateral hip muscles. This change coincided with an awareness of girl culture, a desire to wear dresses and an identification with princesses... along with sitting and looking at them in books and on TV.


If you are a Girlie Girl your tootsies touch to show just how dainty your are.

Now, please don't think I blame Disney for my girls' malalignment issues. No, I don't think that a depiction or two has that much influence, but depictions depict what we as a culture recognize as true. That ladies should keep their legs together to make their you-know-whats less accessible to men, who should take up space and defend their territory using a very wide and manly (he's soooo fly) stance.

Even science isn't immune to these cultural norms. Check out this image of a male and female skeleton. You don't have to recognize the difference in the cranium, jaw or pelvis to know immediately which is male and which is female. Forget the feet, the woman is too demure to look you in the eyes WITH HER GAPING SOCKETS and the guy is about to grab her bony...um, pelvis.

You know it's gone too far when Victorian ideas of propriety are applied to someone who is 3 million years old. Here's Lucy, do you really think she was worried about keeping her legs together?

Back to the three month decline. Intervention is required since this foot-together habit will ensure frail bones and sore knees.

Here is a video snippet from September 2011 illustrating a more mechanically correct and natural alignment. Like little kids everywhere, they don't stop moving for a second, so I slowed the action down. Watch the legs of the girl in pink to see the wide stance, don't blink or you'll miss it. It's over in 20 seconds... 

...and another made on Christmas morning demonstrating their problem, and offering a couple simple exercises to help fix it.

 

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