Why we all need to activate our feet

Dr. Monika Leitner explains why it’s so important to stimulate the muscles in our feet, which could lead to better running performance and overall health, in this first blog in a new series on foot health.

I want to share some thoughts about the problems of mankind in these times when it comes to referring to our body.

We’ve evolved from people who walked and ran about 20km per day, and have now become people who are sitting for up to 15 hours a day. The land that is ‘cultivated’ in modern times measures about 160 x 80cm – the work desk! Instead of using our musculoskeletal system and getting our muscles to move frequently, often the cursor on the screen is the only thing that moves during long office hours. This physical inactivity causes a lot of problems in our bodies.

I’m aware that I write this for a community that loves to exercise. As runners, I’m sure that you not only know about the importance of being physically active, but also experience the benefits of walking and running for yourself. I congratulate you for being active and for joining a community that supports this idea! In this regard, you’re already doing something to mitigate the impact of those long, static days.

However, being active and moving outdoors doesn’t necessarily mean that everything in our body is active. We have about 650 muscles in our body. When we start to move, not every single muscle gets activated. This is, on one hand, a clever system that saves energy. On the other hand, muscles that should optimally assist locomotion, can be in ‘sleep mode’. The reason for this is that a muscle needs a nerve impulse that makes it work. This system is called ‘innervation’. When there a too few nerve impulses, the muscle starts to become ‘lazy’.

This happens to our feet, as they are often in shoes that prevent our natural foot activation. When there are too few nerve impulses acting on the muscles in our feet, they’re not working to their best. This doesn’t prevent us from walking and running ‘like normal’, but you can improve upon your performance. The question is, how can we wake up the foot muscles from the sleep mode to optimal activation? The answer is: through stimulation! Foot muscles need stimulation to increase nerve impulses, which in turn increases foot muscle activation. The medical background and the names of those stimulators I will explain in another blog in the future.

Another problem in our world is that we’ve lost our connection to nature and a more natural way of living. The missing foot stimulation wouldn’t be a problem if we walked barefoot on natural ground. Every little pebble, every little unevenness of the path, would perfectly stimulate our foot muscles. This isn’t suitable for many of us due to climate and terrain, not to mention that most of us don’t want to be walking around everywhere barefoot.

That’s why we came up with the tyfo insoles. They mimic the ‘natural ground’ that our feet can’t touch while in shoes. This stimulation can activate the sleeping muscles. Why is this important? Well, our feet are the first point of contact of our body to the ground and therefore the first ‘managers’ of gravity.

We believe that the secret of good health lies in the feet, working your body from the bottom up and helping you to achieve optimum performance.

Find out more about tyfo insoles here: https://www.tyfosports.com/

This blog is part of a paid partnership with our Family Partner ActivFeet.


Dr. Monika Leitner
Monika is physiotherapist from Austria, but has lived in Switzerland for over 30 years. She’s a runner, who uses running to help her sort through her thoughts. She has worked with mums to help them get back to physical activity after giving birth, has a counselling degree, and specialises in the female pelvic floor and musculoskeletal system. For the past 17 years, she has been a lecturer at the Bern University of Applied Sciences.

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