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Corwin Slack

Feet and Mindfulness

July 16, 2010 at 3:42 AM

Feet!? You don't need feet to play the violin. Indeed not and their are some famous examples of violinist who play brilliantly while seated. 

But this isn't about playing the violin except that it is.

In February the doctor said lose some weight. So I have been doing that. Fewer calories, more exercise. It is the only proven weight loss technique short of stomach surgery and I wasn't quite to that stage. 

So I spend a lot of time every day walking. No particular problems until last week when I got some sort of irritation on my little toe of the left foot. I just compensated a little and bamm!! I had some blisters on the ball of my foot near the big toe. This was painful. How, without feet, does one exercise enough to justify eating?

I suddenly have become very mindful of my stride. I don't run. I just walk. But I have become acutely aware of how weight is distributed across each foot over the course of every stride. Where does the foot make first contact? what is the balance between the left and right sides of the foot? does the weight shift over the course of the stride to the toes or do I pick the foot up as it passes over the ball? before that where is the center of the weight? Is it between the big toe and the next toe? one toe over? What about shoes? What about socks? etc. etc. 

What is the ideal? 

I only have questions. I knew how to walk in the sense of walking from my car to the Kolache shop but when walking is my daily path to good health I have had a sudden loss of confidence.  I am beginning to wonder if I should take walking lessons. 

But this has focussed my mind. Clearly one can focus on one thing and cause even more problems somewhere else.  

How much more true this is in playing the violin! We get a small pain and we compensate in ways that make a large pain. We have to focus to learn but we also have to unfocus to play. 

From Ray Randall
Posted on July 17, 2010 at 1:53 AM

BTDT. Been There, Done That. Make sure your shoes fit with a good insole. That's the cause of most walking-running problems. Before going for a long walk, splash some baby powder generously over and under your feet or put some vaseline on the bottoms of your feet. Both will help stop friction which is the cause of blisters. You can even spray some anti-persirant on the bottoms of your feet before walking to help keep friction at bay. Good luck.

From Smiley Hsu
Posted on July 17, 2010 at 3:09 AM


I don't mean to discourage you from exercising.  Indeed, exercise is essential for optimal health and I spend considerable time in the gym myself.  However, if your objective is weight loss, exercise will have little impact on your final goal.  Instead, the biggest factor is what you eat.  No amount of exercise will compensate for a poor diet.  I am a certified nutritionist, and I sometimes give lectures at companies around the area.  I have also counseled a number of people to achieve their health goals.  If you want to lose weight, take a serious look at what you eat.  One can easily consume 1500 calories or more in a single meal.  Unless you spend 5-6 hours walking, you aren't going to burn that off.  There are a number of good diet plans around.  I kind of like the zone diet, but many of the diet programs out there will do what you want (e.g., Weightwatchers, etc).  I also have my own recommendations.  If you interested, I will be happy to send them to you. 


From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on July 17, 2010 at 2:11 PM

I agree about not making the pain larger and may I suggest to swim...  Get out your "aquatic" side and go at a swimming pool or in a lake (or in the sea if you are lucky ennough to live near it...) It is about the BEST exercise in the world.  No stress on any articulation, very cardio yet plenty muscular too and you come out of the actual sport almost clean except that you smell chlorine...  It's quick and efficient, refreshing and you never feel "sticky" like when you do jogging.  

But this is just my opinion. Some hate water as much as cats...

Good luck!


From Lisa Van Sickle
Posted on July 19, 2010 at 2:52 AM

Once again, proof that the toe bone's connected to the foot bone!  As you said, adjusting to accommodate the tiniest thing throws everything else into question. 

My advice would be to stick to just the poppy seed kolaches, with maybe an occasional rhubarb one thrown in for variety during springtime. Anyone who lives where kolaches are available is duty-bound to indulge.

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