Happy Vs Flourishing episode 21 with Dr Emily Splichal who runs EBFA – The Evidenced Based Fitness Academy.
In this weeks show we discuss barefoot running, footwear, walking, 10,000 steps, pace, injuries and a lot more.
Full details of the courses that EBFA run can be found on their website
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Tony Winyard 0:00
Happy versus flourishing Episode 21 Welcome to the podcast where we give you ideas on small ways you could make improvements to your quality of life. Today's episode is with Dr Emily Splichal and we're gonna investigate about walking and bare feet and running and the benefits you can get from for movement and regular activity. And also what it is that causes problems. You know, sometimes you hear a lot about a lot of runners that get many problems. Why is that? And what is it that causes it? And we go into quite detail about shoes and the problems that certain training shoes can wear and you know, dress shoes when you're out in the evening and so on. So that's all coming up very soon. Hope you do like this podcast, why not subscribe so you can get it on a regular basis? leave a review for us it let us know, and let other people know what you think about your podcast. Right now. It is time for this week's episode. Happy versus flourishing. My guest today is Dr Emily Splichal. How are you?
Dr Emily Splichal 1:13
I'm doing great. Thank you.
Tony Winyard 1:16
Where do we find you today?
Dr Emily Splichal 1:18
I am in Arizona in the United States.
Tony Winyard 1:23
And you are a bit of a specialist in biomechanics and things to do with the body.
Dr Emily Splichal 1:30
Yes. So being a podiatrist and a human movement specialist, I do have a huge passion for the body, particularly as it relates to movement. So all my patients and career has shaped itself around helping people optimise their own movement and what I call movement longevity.
Tony Winyard 1:52
What was it? How did you get into that?
Dr Emily Splichal 1:54
Well, my background is in sports. I was a competitive gymnast for 13 years. And then from undergrad I got into fitness. So just a personal trainer teaching classes and that helped me reconnect to what I guess gymnastics did for me that I didn't realise. But it was this movement my entire life, or my entire from age six to 20 became such a huge part of my life fit fitness reignited that in me. And then when I was in fitness, and I was looking at graduate school and medical schools, I knew that I wanted to have that be the underlying tone of anything that I do, it really speaks to my soul, which is something that I'm really passionate about is doing, doing what you're truly called to do. And for me that relates to movement.
Tony Winyard 2:51
Once you decided, right, this is what I'm going to go into? How did you then decide, how did that lead to where you are now?
Dr Emily Splichal 2:58
Oh, it's a very convoluted but you know, having the background in gymnastics. And then fitness was very important as I went through podiatry school where I happen to choose podiatry because I was living in New York City. And I wanted to go to graduate school medical school in New York City. That was very important for me. That phase in my life, New York City was having no healing me in a crazy way for people who have ever been to New York City. You know, certain cities just feed people. So New York was doing that me, and especially New York at that time. So I knew that I had wanted to stay there. So that's where podiatry school happened to be one of those options. When I was going through podiatry school, I was still training clients and teaching classes because the other part that was speaking to my soul was fitness and movement. So I had this parallel things going on. Now the further I got into podiatry school, I started to realise more and more how isolated and segregated this profession is. It doesn't look at the whole body, it doesn't get a lot of patients out of the chair. You know, they're not thinking about hip core stability, or I mean, even now, I shaped my practice around the emotional state and the stress state of my patients. By just the whole being is what was really important to me. So the further I got along in podiatry school, graduated was doing a residency and it became very much of feet, no movement that I took a break from residency, which was definitely one of those scary moments to potentially leave a training that you invested so much time and money into, but it just, I knew I had to do that at that time. So I left residency and went back to school. To get my master's in human movement, and the time that I did this was around 2009, which is when the barefoot running boom happened. And all these minimal shoes were hitting the market. So it just was having all the stars were aligning or something that everything was happening at that same time. So I was getting my master's in human movement, this boom and barefoot running. I spent my Masters studying barefoot science barefoot movement so that I could really understand this, this trend or this niche that was that was happening, get my masters. Long story short, I obviously have to go back to residency so I can get my podiatry licence. But I have this whole new perspective. Once I graduated my residency and became licenced the glue that connected my fitness passion for movement background with my medical degree was my masters. And that Master's focused on barefoot science barefoot movement, and that laid the foundation of the rest of my career. Because that that was then the most pivotal event was me leaving residency, and then coming back to get that skill set in between. and then that's really everything that I speak about today.
Tony Winyard 6:14
For people people listening who may be they've heard the word barefoot, but they're not really sure what it is, how would you explain it?
Dr Emily Splichal 6:21
So barefoot, barefoot movement, barefoot running, I try to not make it synonymous with barefoot running. So let's just say barefoot movement, or actually I've kind of hashtag did or identified it with barefoot strong. So to me barefoot strong means barefoot movement, barefoot lifestyle, barefoot running, all of that does not mean literally you are barefoot, your entire day. 24. Seven, you don't believe in shoes. That's not what I'm saying. It means that you are looking at the foot from a sensory perspective, from a functional perspective, a natural and integrated perspective. And that someone who, let's say, is barefoot strong, or has a barefoot strong lifestyle, incorporates sensory stimulation into their feet every day, they go barefoot every day for even 30 minutes around their home. And then they put focused energy into strengthening the feet, releasing the feet, wearing footwear, that optimises natural foot function, and then appreciates the role of the foot with the rest of the body, specifically as it relates to our core and our pelvis. And what I call foot two core sequencing.
Tony Winyard 7:37
It seems to me that the majority of people are completely oblivious to how much damage the shoes that they're wearing are causing them?
Dr Emily Splichal 7:46
Yeah, I mean, I think that the minimal minimal shoe boom, and that that category or the barefoot running boom, definitely brought to light to the consumer or to the patient, the layperson about the importance of feet and footwear. And it, I think allowed people this moment to question what they've been told, for years from the footwear industry that if I have flat feet, I need supportive shoes, if I have a high arch, I need to have cushioned shoes because of these polar associations with foot types, and the necessary role of footwear. So this this opportunity to see things different, actually has made my job easier, because people are already primarily are initially exposed to that idea or to that opportunity, they just now need someone to guide them a little less biassed on what is appropriate for their body, and for their foot type and then the movement that they are going to do.
Tony Winyard 8:58
And there's a lot of people who spend fortunes and they decide they're going to run a marathon or they're going to, whatever it is that they've decided they're going to do and they spend a fortune on these top brand running shoes. And often they seem from what I understand, they do more damage than good. In some cases,
Dr Emily Splichal 9:17
they can and one of the most important ways that shoes create damage, let's say is that they create a sensory disconnect between the body the nervous system in the ground. And this is now this is kind of getting into the Barefoot science things. And my Master's in the foundation of my work is if we think of the fact that we need sensory stimulation for every movement that we do, and that sensory stimulation is impact forces we need to feel the ground we need to feel the pressure. Impact forces are actually vibration. So if we feel that vibration coming from the ground, that actually should shapes and guides, our movement pattern. Now cushion in shoes cushion is one of the features that is probably the most damaging, let's say, and I'm going to loosely use the word damaging, but the most damaging would be cushion because the cushion in the shoe takes away the vibration. But the vibration we want to remember, is the sensory stimulus that tells our nervous system, how hard we're striking the ground force rates or body weights, the hardness of the surface that we're on, it provides a lot of necessary information. When you take that away, you actually create a foot that I call is reactive or delayed. And everything about movement has to do with timing. So if we think of, you know, we're running, we're doing any sort of sport, our ability to optimise performance and reduce injury risk is based around the timing and the coordination around our nervous system to control that movement. If you don't get sufficient sensory stimulation, the timing of your stabilisation and coordination shifts and it becomes a little bit slower, you get compensation and you get injury.
Tony Winyard 11:20
And isn't it also by wearing shoes so heavily cushioned, it changes the way that the foot hits the ground, which can have a big impact in more than one way?
Dr Emily Splichal 11:32
Yes. So again, I would say, the lay person way that you could kind of explain this would be that imagine that you, you know are running and your foot is landing on like a pillow. So just imagine how unstable that would be. That's kind of how, how a consumer could start to visualise this, what's actually happening. When you are in an environment like that, what I look at is, it goes back to timing, literally everything I look at has to do with timing. When you're on that unstable environment, you don't have the ability to quickly get into the stabilisation pathways to get off of the ground quickly. So a lot of people who were cushion shoes and let's say in runners who run in a certain pattern, because they have cushion shoes, they're actually on the ground longer than someone who is running in a more minimal quote unquote barefoot shoe, or someone who's actually running barefoot, it has to do with your timing that you're on the ground, and we get injured when we are on the ground.
Tony Winyard 12:45
And isn't there also a situation where some often it can be when you first start to learn about something that can be the most dangerous phrase when you only know a little bit and from again, what I understand when people start finding out about this and they realise are well I shouldn't be wearing shoes that are so cushy, I need to wear more barefoot type shoes. But then if you go straight to barefoot from wearing heavily cushioned shoes that can cause quite a few problems?
Dr Emily Splichal 13:13
Yeah, that's actually where a lot of V Brom, so the fivefingers shoes that came out, you know, 2008 910, around that that was the boom, they got a lot of bad press. And for any of the listeners that can recall, a New York Times had done a bunch of articles just destroying this company that, you know, wearing the five fingers causes bone marrow edoema, and things that really were not linking it to the shoe, per se, it was exactly that what you're saying is that there was not this understanding of a transition period. And really, it's called the tissue stress threshold. And when you stress the body stress ultimately makes your body stronger. But that's controlled stress. And that's stress that you stress the body and then you back off and you give the body or the tissue, this adaptation or this repair period. And then you stress it. And you do that in a very cyclical, intelligent, progressive way. And then that's where people can run a marathon truly barefoot with no shoes, because they've done it in that progressive way, majority of people because I do agree there was not the education or the consumer awareness that there is this transition period, a lot of people were getting hurt. And that's ultimately what led to the V brown lawsuit was because of false claims to consumers and unfortunate disconnect in that, that progressive period.
Tony Winyard 14:50
So if someone's listening to this and they're thinking, maybe it doesn't make sense to wear such heavily cushioned shoes and they want to make that transition. How would someone go about that?
Dr Emily Splichal 15:02
So when you do want to do it slowly, I think that if people understand that there's different levels of cushion. So there would be a, you have a traditional cushion shoe, let's call that, like a standard New Balance shoe is what people may associate with a traditional cushioned shoe. You then have maximally cushioned shoes, which is actually going in the other direction. So we won't, we won't discuss that too much. But for those listeners that have heard of a hoka, a whole guy is a maximally cushioned shoe, which is even more so than a traditional and then your next step would be what I call a transitional. This would be something like an ultra or on running, if you're familiar with those brands, even Nike, Nike Free a lot of those are transitional. And then the truth zero cushioned or minimal cushioned shoe would be like a vivo barefoot, a zero shoes, five fingers were zero cushioned. So you want to do it slowly and drop down the cushion slowly. But as you're decreasing the cushion, you want to make sure that you are one strengthening your foot. At the same time, just wearing minimal shoes is not the way that you strengthen your foot, does it strengthen your foot, yes. But it's not the way that you strengthen your foot to transition into minimal shoes. So that would be short for barefoot exercises standing on one leg, I have a bunch of exercises for those. And then the other thing that you have to make sure that you're doing is recovering your feet. And that is releasing your feet on a golf ball or lacrosse ball, you're doing some sort of recovery to the small muscles in the feet. And then you are doing that every day while decreasing the cushion. And then the stress that you are putting your foot under has to be slowly increased. I'll give you an example of how I transitioned to wear the five finger shoes, a indoor, almost like a ballet shoe, walking 20,000 steps in New York City on concrete. I would do that by wearing a transitional shoe, walk my regular 20,000 and then start to get into the five finger and I would wear them on Monday knew it was a high stress right towards the end of the day it was start to feel my feet. I wouldn't wear those shoes again until Thursday. So Monday I would wear the Barefoot shoes, walk 20,000 steps and then stress my foot. Tuesday Wednesday, I was back into a more cushioned environment. And then Thursday, I would walk again in the five finger shoe. And I would repeat that and then I would do it again on Monday and the following Thursday, right? So you can kind of see that. There's this space in between that gives your body the break. And then in that break, you're also releasing the bottom of the feet. Maybe you're doing some short foot exercises, but that's the way that you want to start to think about it. And then of course I create actually individualised programmes on how to do that.
Tony Winyard 18:27
And the programmes you're creating are they aimed at the public or just people that are coaching the public on this
Dr Emily Splichal 18:34
job. So they're actually both so I do train other professionals. I have an education company that I started in 2012. Around this time of connecting fitness my master's and my medical degree I launched my education company which is called a BFA global and I've travelled all around the world to teach other physical therapists, doctors, coaches, trainers about feet barefoot science. But for my podiatry practice, which is really primarily virtual, even before COVID, I was primarily virtual because I treat people all over the world. That would be the consumer, the athlete, the patient programme, that I call, you know, an eight to 12 week functional foot programme. That is let's say someone wants to get out of supportive shoes to run a 10 k because a marathon might be a little bit too overshooting it but attend a in barefoot or in very minimal shoes, I would essentially guide them through that or if they're coming off a certain injury, which is where I see a lot of the same concept applies to when I have a patient who has a fracture from overuse, you know running or doing any other sports. And they have several stress fractures in the foot, let's say. And now I have to get them back to the foot strength and the neuromuscular strength so that they don't get re injured, that can take a good eight weeks from when they heal to get them back to a state that they're not going to reenter themselves. I do programming for that as well.
Tony Winyard 20:23
And in that 8 week period would they be best not doing say 10,000 steps a day and just resting as much as possible, or would they still be able to do some movement during the day?
Dr Emily Splichal 20:34
No. So you definitely want to do the movement. And this is where it could be potentially counterintuitive to some individuals is but if I Raz, then the tissue heals itself. But then a lot of people will go from that resting state to whatever their original movement level was, right. So if I if I normally run, let's say two miles a day, and I apologise, I don't know how to convert that to kilometres. But say two miles a day is my distance. And I get the clearance from my doctor that my stress fracture healed, I'm going to go back to running and I go right back to that two miles, that abrupt increase in stress is really going to set that individual up for that exact same injury. So we also don't want to just sit there, and I never want my patients to I would never tell someone to accept this injury and just don't ever move again. Which sounds crazy. But I do get patients who are told that that they come to me and say, Oh, my orthopaedic surgeon told me never to do stairs again. And then how do you not do stairs, like stairs are part of everything. And this is when I lived in New York City with the subways and I'm like you have to do stairs, you have a subway that you have to get into and out of there, just try to never say that to patients. And I try to get them to a baseline level of function, which might be just I want to walk my dog and I, that's my happy point is being able to walk my dog for several blocks. That's where I'm going to get them to.
Tony Winyard 22:16
I was having a conversation with a fitness professional a few months ago. And basically, they were saying or their point of view was that they didn't recommend people to ever go running because running causes too many injuries. And they didn't seem to realise Well, from my my way of thinking and obviously you'll correct me on this, is that it's not that running is causing the problems, it's more usually the footwear and the way that someone's running.
Dr Emily Splichal 22:45
So I tried to not make polar statements like that, where, you know, running is very stressful on the body running is very stressful on a female body, more so than a male body because of our hips and our knees and our cue angle. And the way that our structure is a little bit different than a male skeletal structure. So I do see why that person would say that. However, I don't make x equal y statements. There have been some patients that I've told them, because they have a long list of running related injuries. And they keep going from one injury to another injury and they're all running induced, that I've told them that I really think that you are fighting your structure here. And that, you know, you might be best finding another sport or activity that that you have passion around. But I know that people love it runners love to run and I as a physician, I have to respect that. So every every patient that comes in, I see them with a level of appreciation that that feeds their soul in a certain way. And it's not my biassed opinion, to say you should not be running because I think that running causes too many injuries. How can I make this a reality for them? If they keep getting injuries at the 15 mile marker, but they love to run so much. Can we together Let's work to maybe run you know, half of that you're still running which feeds your soul. But when you push too high, you start getting injured Where can we find that? that sweet spot that is a reality to what you want and what I believe as your clinician to make sure you don't get injured again. That's more how I work with my patients versus just saying you shouldn't run running as bad running causes injuries.
Tony Winyard 24:56
What would you say are the most common repetitive injuries that you see and and how they're easily corrected maybe.
Dr Emily Splichal 25:06
I would say some of the most common injuries in podiatry or as a podiatrist with movement would be of course plantar fasciitis or heel pain, where a lot of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, but not not all of it is. That's probably one of the most common stress fractures, neuromas are a big one and the neuroma might surprise people. But neuroma pain does have to do with the timing of stability in the foot. And how footwear can too restrictive of footwear can shift the timing in the foot and then you start to pinch some of the tissue in the nerves. And then I would say Achilles tendinitis, and then it goes higher up IT band issues are often related to the foot and the timing of the foot. And then even low back pain, I deal with a lot of low back, tailbone, which is called coxy, dinya, SI joint pain, things like that.
Tony Winyard 26:07
And how easy or difficult is it to correct some of those conditions you've just mentioned.
Dr Emily Splichal 26:13
So the methodology to correct a lot of those issues is very similar. And I don't mean to keep kind of beating this dead horse, but it really does have to do with timing, timing and sensory perception and sensory interpretation. Let's say that if the individual if we can stay with running, but is that the runner doesn't feel the ground fast enough, they're not going to be stabilising their core, their lower back their hips, their knees fast enough, which means that they become reactive. And if we think about, let's say the IT band, the IT band, which stabilises the knee and a single leg stance, that's its job, stabilise it in a single leg stance that could apply to walk into running into many athletic movements. But it's uniquely necessary for running because running is a single leg pattern, you never have a point that you are on both feet at the same time, which means you have very high rapid IT band engagement or activation, which if you become more reactive because you don't feel the ground, let's say because of your shoes, then it you kind of overshoot how you stabilise your IT band and the tissue that that inserts into the IT band leading to IT band bursitis and IT band syndrome. So it's a timing issue. plantar fasciitis is a vibration based injury is the way that I look at it. If you are not stabilising your foot and stiffening and contracting your foot muscles fast enough, then vibration, excess vibration comes into your body. If excess vibration goes into connective tissue, you get an itis plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis. If excess vibration comes into your bone, you get shin splints, stress fractures. So that means that you have to accelerate the rate at which you are stiffening the foot contracting the muscles to brace against the vibration that's about to come in so that you don't get those injuries, we actually need to be loading impact forces before our foot even hits the ground. And that's what barefoot movement really is about also, is that you become anticipatory in your movements pre active in your movements, versus reactive. As soon as you react to a stimulus, you're too slow. And I need people, athletes, runners patients to be in this anticipatory state, because that's ultimately what your nervous system is designed to do. Because our nervous system is built around survival and survival is built around being efficient. So it's efficient to be pre active. And therefore, we ultimately need to be pre active to move efficiently to move longer. And that's, that's my programme or my perspective on movement, longevity.
Tony Winyard 29:29
How many of the people that are having injury issues and are people who are maybe going running or doing whatever sports how many of that stems from this fashion shoes that they wear like for men often wear these pointed shoes and women obviously with high heels and I would imagine that must cause a lot of damage, like crushing your toes into those pointed shoes.
Dr Emily Splichal 29:51
we there's a lot of focus along athletic shoes. Those were primarily most of the brands that I've mentioned. When you look at the The minimal shoe boom, a majority of those shoes are in, or were in the athletic space, the running shoe space. What's happening now is exactly what you're saying is that people are beginning to appreciate or think about the impact of this day to day aware of what is happening on our feet. So you've actually seen this large uptick in dress shoes that are more natural foot friendly. But so they might not have a heel counter, they might be a little bit wider in the toolbox, maybe a little bit more flexible materials, so that the foot can move in a very natural way, not have a high heel toe drop and not have a lot of excess cushion, but still have the fashion element of dress shoes and professional shoes and fashion shoes is you have to have a certain look. And not saying that all the other minimal shoes that were athletic were not attractive. But you know, people don't want to wear sneakers all the time. They need other options. So that's where it's great to see this boom or increase in minimal shoes for fashion professional everyday wear.
Tony Winyard 31:20
You mentioned before about the companies like vivo barefoot and Vibram FiveFingers who are doing these sort of barefoot shoes. Why is it that the some of the big players like the the Nikes, and Adidas and whatever, haven't got into that arena yet?
Dr Emily Splichal 31:39
So the shoe industry is a $80 billion industry globally, which I mean, that's obviously a massive industry. And part of that the part of the $80 billion that is minimal, is around 1.5 billion. So it's a small percent of that large pipe night is one of the major players, global leaders in footwear sales every year. And their business like every other businesses they want, you know, profits, margin sales and revenue. And I believe that what they they still have minimal shoes, but they didn't identify themselves. Nike is not a minimal shoe company like save evil, barefoot. Evil, barefoot its mission is to optimise natural foot function, they do documentaries, they educate the public, they challenge some of these bigger players where Nike is it's a global leader in athletic footwear, is how I would look at them. And they don't have just running shoes, or that type of shoe model. They have, you know, they do cleats, they do basketball shoe, they cover a wide range of, of footwear and sports, that that's why I just don't think there's enough money in it, to do that, or the money to do the marketing to then get that 1.5 billion to be larger. I don't know if that 1.5 billion will ever be larger, but of those that are in that $1.5 billion pool. That's a large number of individuals who now have an understanding of this optimised movement. And I'm doing what I can through my education and my books and my companies and my practice to get that pool bigger from the impact that I can make.
Tony Winyard 33:48
So you mentioned about your book. So who is your book aimed at?
Dr Emily Splichal 33:53
It's actually aimed at the consumer, even though I have a lot of professionals that read it. My book is called barefoot strong, unlocking the anti ageing secrets to movement, longevity. And I focused on identifying foot type so that the consumer, the patient can actually understand their foot type versus saying, Oh, I was told by my podiatrist, I have flat feet, therefore I have flat feet. I actually educate them and empower them to actually question do you actually have flat feet and is the type of flat foot that you have one that has to be in an orthotic? A majority of orthotics are highly over prescribed, especially here in the us that if I can get the consumer to understand their foot type and their needs a little bit more, that's empowering. And then I also go into fascia and connective tissue and how that ages and how we can prevent it from ageing to optimise our movement. Same thing with the nervous system and how our peripheral nerves can age and then of course going into programming of how to strengthen our feet, and then foot to core.
Tony Winyard 35:03
And so is the book. So it's obviously, educating people. And it's also offering suggestions on the transition in maybe between cushioning shoes to barefoot shoes and so on.
Dr Emily Splichal 35:16
Yeah, so it gives some of the why to that. The programme is not built in the book. But the my first step with the book, or everything that I do is that the individual has to appreciate why you have to be progressive. That's what the book is doing. My goal with everything that I do, that I've ever done with my career is to get people to appreciate the complexity and the function of the foot. That's step one, if you appreciate it, and just say, like, Whoa, the foot is so fascinating, the complex like, oh, no wonder it takes four years to become a podiatrist, and you're studying nothing but the feet, because it's so complicated. That's it, then my goal is, is done. Once you appreciate how complex the feet are. Now, let's get into because if they're complex, the importance kind of goes higher up in them, right? This is something that I don't really understand. Okay, Dr. splittable? Or, can you help me understand this transition now that I appreciate the role of the foot in the complexity of the foot? Now, I will actually do what you're saying. Because I have that baseline appreciation, that's my goal,
Tony Winyard 36:35
doesn't have something like 25% of the muscles or the bone, sorry,
Dr Emily Splichal 36:40
yes. The bonds, yes, similar, similar to the wrist and the hand. But what's different about the hand, which is also a very fascinating structure, is the hand is all about dexterity, my doing all these small movements, the ability to button a button is very complex, or to sew or thread a needle and or do micro surgery, things like that, is very fascinating. The foot is similarly complex. But what's unique about it is the forces and the energy transfer and the body weight, that it's under Earth exposed to 1000s and 1000s of times a day. And it's actually more of a rigid structure, where the hand is more of this mobile dexterity of structure, they should not be compared to each other, because their function in movement is completely different.
Tony Winyard 37:46
What are your thoughts on this or 10,000 step movement? Because there's so much talk about that.
Dr Emily Splichal 37:53
As far as the recommended steps per day?
Tony Winyard 37:57
Some people swear by it and say you have to be walking minimum of 10,000 every day, and others are saying it should be far more than that. And other people are saying you don't need to be doing anything like that. So obviously it is great from a point of view of being anti sedentary behaviour. But I just wonder, Is there much evidence that 10,000 steps does do much good?.
Dr Emily Splichal 38:22
So this is where I would go in a different direction instead, and say, instead of focusing on the quantity, and we focus on the quality of each of those steps, now, when we look at the, you know, evolution of Homo sapiens, and our brain and the neocortex and just kind of optimization of who we are, it was really built around movement. So swinging moving is very important when you move meaning walk, because that's majority of the movement that we would be doing when you walk, especially at a certain pace. That's what's important is we have to walk at a certain pace. So I would rather you walk less steps but faster in those less steps. Because the faster you walk, you get into this momentous state, this fashional state that drives cerebral or brain blood circulation or volume, which is neuroprotective to the brain. It increases brain growth factors. So all of this anti ageing, dementia, Alzheimer's, neurological conditions, things like that is really built around keeping these individuals moving because of the blood that goes to the brain that happens at a certain walking pace. You have to get that heart rate up, obviously. Now from a fashion perspective. What's interesting about walking when you walk At a certain pace is that let's imagine you're taking a long stride with your right leg taking a step, the optimal pattern is that your left arm is going to come forward. So if you could visualise for those that are listening, if you actually want to kind of go through this with me, is imagine that your left arm is coming forward. So you can feel or see that your pelvis was going in one direction with the front leg that stepped forward. And then your rib cage and your torso are going in the opposite direction with the arm that's crossing that reciprocal pattern. But want you to think of that almost like kind of like ringing a rag out that you are ringing the rug and then you release the rug with every step that you take. That is very tissue hydrating meanings, fascia, tendons, ligaments, it's connective tissue, or collagen hydrating to do that in your rib cage in your pelvis open, which is necessary for breathing. And for to keep that stride length, you have to have an open rib cage and pelvis. So walking is very therapeutic. Again, I don't get caught up in the number of steps, but it's more Are you taking long strides? Do you have the reciprocal pattern? Are you do you have that optimal breathing? are we driving cerebral blood flow more much more like that is what I do advise my patients to do, and I will tell them, you know, because I lived in New York City for 20 years. And that's where a majority of my practice was based. So it's very unique stressors to the body in New York City versus many other cities. Of course, London would be very similar in Hong Kong and other major cities that are walking based is that in those cities, you see, you see people hitting this more optimal stride length and pace, because it's one in Bay City. In other ones, where now I'm in Arizona, where it's called more car dependent. A lot of people walk very staccato, which means nowhere steps, I'm not getting the reciprocal arm swings. So the way I walk around my home, or the office, or to my car, or the shopping, not the shopping mall, but the grocery store is very different than walking down New York City sidewalks trying to get to work on time, your you know what I mean? So it's very important to make sure you are walking in a optimal stride in an optimal pace every single day, or at least several times a week if you can to feed your fascia and feed your nervous system.
Tony Winyard 42:56
So someone's walking whatever number of steps it is, but they're doing that while they put their hands in their pockets, they're really gonna negate the benefits?
Dr Emily Splichal 43:05
Yep, the other one is when people get back to New York City, when people carry a one sided purse or a satchel or something like that, were sitting on one side. And if you imagine that, let's say I have a bag on my left shoulder, and I'm holding the strap of that bag so it doesn't fall off. And then I'm swinging and just my right arm. So I have this asymmetrical arm swing, which is also going to affect my stride length. And the rotation of my pelvis. And my rib cage leads to many problems, which is part of why people say we're a backpack or a backpack. So you don't have that asymmetrical stress. or walking with like you said, One hand in a pocket, both hands in the pocket strollers so the jogging strollers just don't make sense to me, because you're trying to run with your hands on something, which is very counter intuitive to how the body actually creates energy. When it runs, you have to have an arm swing to get t spine or thoracic rotation when you run. And you can't do that if you're pushing a stroller. So those those are things that some of the listeners can start to think about. That may be that's influencing the quality of their walking.
Tony Winyard 44:33
And you mentioned pace, what kind of pace would be suggested.
Dr Emily Splichal 44:39
Everybody has their own pace. And what's interesting is that you will know when you are at your pace for anyone who maybe some of the listeners are in a walking bass city where I was given kind of the story of walking in New York City and I walked very fast So constantly be passing people on the sidewalk in New York, but walk in very quickly. And then you will feel, you will feel the period that you get into momentum. And it becomes almost effortless in a sense of you walking, where I'm walking really quickly, and then someone tries to cut me off. And I'm so much in my momentous state that I can't stop, I would literally barrel into them, because I'm kind of riding my momentum, or I'm riding my fashion. In a sense, you will feel when that happens. Now, what's interesting as far as everybody's walking pace, is that if you walk slower than your pace, you will also feel it in the sense because you are exerting more energy. So when I walk with my husband, who walks slower than me, I have to slow my pace to a pace, that is more work. For me, it's harder for me to walk slower while he's at his fashional efficient pace. But I'm not and I can feel it, because I'm just like, it's kind of fighting my body to walk faster. And that's why I can't say it's, you know, this many steps per minute or something like that, because everyone has their own momentous state or their optimal pace. And you will feel it because it's when you switch to become more fashionably based and more momentous based.
Tony Winyard 46:37
So when you were describing that one thing that went through my mind was people who do power walking? how beneficial or more how does that come into this whole equation?
Dr Emily Splichal 46:48
Yeah, so the pattern in speed walk and I actually have not treated speed walkers, I have a good friend who is a speed Walker and actually designed to shoot for speed Walker, specifically, they have a very specific pattern of how they push through each phase. And if anyone has ever seen this speed Walker, they they're almost walking more like stiff legged, and the arm swing is very specific versus the arms down, they have them bent, and they walk kind of in a more upright torso rotation perspective. So it's a different strategy. Literally, that'll allows them to harness the fascicle energy of every step. So that's what it is. But every every sport or movement or strategy has that slight modification for you to optimise through fascia. And that's what our goal should be is we want to move spatially not muscularly. As soon as we move muscularly, we are increasing our work, which is effort, which is energy, we're not efficient, we can get fatigued. And that's where we get our services.
Tony Winyard 48:03
Early on probably about 20 minutes ago. So you mentioned in about one of the ways of helping with the transition to barefoot time shoes is using like things like lacrosse balls and golf balls and so on. Would someone be able to do that say while sat down watching TV and just running their foot over that or do they need their full body weight on it?
Dr Emily Splichal 48:27
You can, depending on your tolerance to it, you do get a little bit better released when you have your body weight on the golf ball, lacrosse ball and whatever tool that you're using. Because our body weight, obviously, we can control how much pressure we're putting down on that. So I what I do, ideally recommend a standing release. What's also great about doing a standing release the joys get gravity involved, which is a great sensory stimulus to your nervous system. But if someone is, is more sensitive, and they want to start sitting and rolling the foot on the ball, great. If that's how they will start, then that's how I would want them to start.
Tony Winyard 49:14
I suppose that they could still watch TV and be stood stood up and put in their body weight on if that's what they wanted it to.
Dr Emily Splichal 49:22
Absolutely, I would the thing that I do, which is what I like what you're saying is that you're trying to do it at the same time as doing something else. Because that's when you start to get these lifestyle habits or rituals, call them what you want, but you need to have the consistency and I look at foot release a five minute foot release as a lifestyle, which means I will tell people to do it when they're brushing their teeth. When you brush your teeth. Release your feet because the brushing the teeth is a habit. It's a a wellness habit that I believe everybody He has adopted and they understand the importance of it, you're going to do it every day, twice a day. So why don't you at the same time, release your feet, and now you're getting two great wellness habits at the same time.
Tony Winyard 50:14
Yeah, you could almost do your right foot when you're doing your top teeth and your left foot when you're doing the bottom teeth!. I'm gonna talk more about the courses that you offer, and so forth. You talked about the course for the public, so but for the fitness professionals that are looking to extend their skill set, and so on, so what is it that you help them with?
Dr Emily Splichal 50:37
Yeah, so through http://www.ebfafitness.com/, we have all of our live and online courses, obviously, this year, majority of our courses switch to online. But the courses that we offer, we have several certifications. So we have a barefoot Training Specialist certification of barefoot rehab specialist, which is more for the physical therapists and the medical professional, we have a barefoot workout for those that incorporate group exercise, and they just want a myriad of barefoot based exercises. And then we have all that kind of shoot off of that area that I'm big on is bio psychosocial interoception stress, mind body connections. So we have an interoceptive performance specialist, which just talks about your internal sensory perception, and then pelvic balance and a bunch of other smaller ones that all of those linked off of that https://www.ebfaglobal.com/ And then we do travel around the world and teach those in person, I have eight master instructors that are around the world, and they help teach those courses as well. So people want to find out more about all the various courses that you offer, where would they go. So you could go to https://www.ebfaglobal.com/ And then that will link to it's actually sitting on our Teachable platform, which is www.ebfaglobal.teachable.com. And then it also links to our YouTube, which is a great place to start listening to the videos, I have a bunch of exercises on there, how to do short foot which I had mentioned how to activate the pelvic floor, how to sequence foot two core. And then I've done over 100 free webinars that are archived on our YouTube channel. And that would link off of that edfa global.com. Or if you go to youtube.com/ebfafitness
Tony Winyard 52:46
Is there a book that you've often recommended or book that really inspires you?
Dr Emily Splichal 52:53
One of my favourite books that changed the way that I looked at movement sensory brain is called Smart Moves by Carla Hannaford. And it's really built around initially children so why we need movement in school was really what people can afford is built a career around his children need to move to provide sensory to optimise brain to optimise learning and emotional regulation. But I believe that everybody can apply what is taught in the book to themselves to their children to loved ones or clients, patients that are at the other end of the spectrum. So kind of the boomer side, it gives a really good foundation on brain development, how the brain responds to sensory stimulation. And then really the other part that I was speaking about about mind body is the impact of emotional stress on our ability to learn or to move well, so just kind of this, this interconnected relationship between intelligence, emotion and movement. fascinating book.
Tony Winyard 54:11
I'll put that in the details of that in the show notes. And finally, Emily, is there a quotation that you particularly like?
Dr Emily Splichal 54:18
I do, yes. So my quote that really speaks to me is a Mark Twain quote, and it says: "The two most important days in your life are, the day that you are born and the day that you find out why."
Dr Emily Splichal 54:39
Yeah, my goal that people find what their purpose is, and if you find your purpose, which is your passion, then you're really not working.
Tony Winyard 54:54
Well, it's been a it's been a real pleasure. speaking to you for last 45 minutes and thank you for for sharing so much great information and educating people and a lot of areas where we hear so much misinformation and lonely people just really confused and not knowing what to do.
Dr Emily Splichal 55:12
Yeah, no, it was it was a pleasure and I really appreciate the invitation and I hope all the listeners Enjoy.
Tony Winyard 55:19
Thank you. Next week's episode is with Kym Hamer. She has a business called Building Brand U and she helps businesses thought leaders, consultants, coaches get more opportunities, more clients, and more revenue. And in next week's episode, we're talking about marketing branding, psychology, reading, meditating, many, many different areas. So it's quite an interesting episode. She originally is from Australia. She's been living in the UK now for 17 years. We talked about in that transition, how easy or difficult that was. And so we hear a lot more from Kym in next week's episode. If you enjoyed this week's episode with Emily Splichal, please do share it with anyone who you feel would get some real benefit from some of the information that Emily shared with us especially any people you know, who maybe go running quite often or do a long walk every day for example, they could get some more benefit from some of the information that Emily shared about footwear and pace and, and so on. If you like this episode, or if you like this podcast, why not subscribe to us so you can get it on a regular basis. please do leave a review for us that lets us know what you think about the show. It lets potential listeners know whether it is worth their while listening to as well. Hope you have a great week. See you next week.
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