Happy societies

A couple of weeks ago we were at Christians house when he talked about a term called Blue Zones. It’s a term coined by Dan Beuttner about places in the world which have a very high percentage of centenarians. (people whom live over 100 years).

Dan gave a Ted talk on Blue Zones.

Then yesterday I was in a waiting room perusing the National Geographics they had there and I found one of Dans articles on the happiest places in the world.

Something I realised a while ago, is that even if someone becomes financially wealthy and can stop work, they only retire for a while and then they go back to work. Why? Because they have no community or tribe. To get financially independent usually involves many hours of work which usually separates people from their circle of friends. Humans as a whole generally look at everyone else around them to figure out what they should be doing. If there’s no one around they look to the media.

In the geographic areas of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, North America and their related offshoot zones, it seems community is lacking. By community I mean face to face community specifically NOT through social media. The connections between people are there, but people do not have the time. They are stressed about working towards having enough money to retire and getting ‘Set Up’.

People work so many hours per week (at least here in Australia they do) that they are too tired to spend time with each other.

With technology we’re now many times more productive than ever. People 100 years ago lived OK on a fraction of the output. It would be nice to find somewhere where the whole society says”Yes, we have enough. Let’s just do 20 hours per week work. Let’s set things up so everyone spends an average of 10 minutes travel time to work “

Do these places exist? It seems like Dan Beuttner might have found some.

Plantar Fasciitis notes 2

after doing a 50 minute bike ride this morning the pain in the heel is lessened. Working with Dana this morning and watching Jeffs videos again we realised that I walk with toes slightly out and I land heel first but almost flat and then I project forward at probably 20 degrees off straight. I can feel a decent amount of pain in the heel and the outisde just under the ankle.

Months ago we were watching videos of top runners in slow motion. We noticed that they landed on the heel, but more to the outside than I do. As the foot rolls forwards it really loads down the outside of the foot. After the foot moves through under the body and becomes the motive force, their calcaneus does rotate inward toward the centre line of the body.

So I though this must be the same in walking. Dana also pointed out that when she got me to do this 6 months ago I was walking more easily. Either way testing this morning, in walking I focused on the calcaneus rolling inward on the projection of the back foot. As a result it make the landing foot land directly on the centre line of travel. My foot has to touch the heel down and then slightly supine (roll outward) (dictionary, def lying on the back) and as the loading comes on the load goes through the outer edge of the foot. Instantly walking this way causes less pain. It takes concentration, but the distance projected forward for the same energy is substantial.

Also testing Jeffs glute medius exercise this morning (without a Pilates ball or elastic) I could not get past 16 reps. Jeff was saying if you can’t hit 20 reps then the gluteus medius is too weak.

In this animation below we can see the 3 muscles
Gluteus minimus
Gluteus maximus and
Gluteus medius
Studying it more closely it becomes very obvious the the minimus and medius control the angle of thigh rotation when we project whilst walking or running. If they are not strong enough then we are going to the incorrect angle projection of the thigh in part or in the whole of the movement.
It’s also defining the angle of the pelvis through all movements.

To take the calcaneus from outward rotation on landing to inward rotation on propulsion the small mechanics around the foot would always become overpowered by the overall centre of gravity above it.

Plantar Fasciitis notes 1

These notes are mainly for me, but also for other whom would like to compare their experiences.

I seem to have this recurring plantar fasciitis and these are my findings so far.

The best video I could find on the subject was by this YouTuber Athleanx

He points out that the plantar muscle under the foot is being used for projection in walking and running. The reason being that the heel bone (calcaneus) needs to be kicking outward when the foot lands in propulsion to adapt to the ground. When it propulses it needs to rotate inward to lock the metacarpals together to provide a rigid projection lever.

1st Reason

Jeff says the reason this happens is that if the calf muscles are tight, then there is a timing issue and the calcaneus does not rotate inward on propulsion. The foot stays flexible and the plantar muscle is used for projection. He gives exercises on how to stretch the calves for correcting this movement.

2nd reason

If your calf is loose then it could be the gluteus medius. He gives exercises for this. Jeff shows how o exercise the gluteus medius in this video

3rd reason

The upper torso is rotating with the walking gape, but can not turn back rapidly enough. This causes another timing issue as it all translates down to the calcaneus not rotating inward on projection. He says we need to fix our thoracic extension.

Jeff says to fix the posture first and he gives 4 steps in this video

  1. Fix the rounded upper back Thoracic spine – broomstick always keeping one side on the floor.
  2. Fix rounded shoulders – Face pulls – Thumbs up and back
  3. Nerd neck fix – Tennis ball under chin and weight on forehead. Back and up to flat. Tuck the chin back to activate the deep neck flexors (Longus Colli)
  4. Fixing the pelvis if your hamstrings are tight. – Hamstring / calf stretch with arm extension forward – This may not be everyones issue – does not fix anterior pelvic tilt.

My trials at fixing PF

Rewatching this video whilst writing this post, I realised that I’d forgotten a lot of what Jeff had said. Thus I’ll be incorporating into my regular exercises.

However, I think the Plantar fasciitis came about because I’d had time away from any activity when I moved to Brisbane for a while. I was not training like I normally do and I was sitting on a chair in front of a laptop computer all day. I think the sitting in front of a computer all day seriously slows the blood flow to the calves via the underside of the leg. It’s not an issue if you’re doing decent regular exercise, but the subtle restriction of a chair all day long adds up over time. Several months later I decided to get back into exercise. I did all my normal stretching and then jogging. Thing about being fit once before is that your brain still thinks it is where it was fitness wise. I think this is where plantar fasciitis started.

Fascia stretching

An interesting point I just learnt. The muscle can start to stretch out in over 30 seconds, but the fascia needs at least 2 minutes per stretch.

Bike riding to loosen muscles below the knee

Also I used to ride for at least half an hour per day in hilly country. Recently I’d only been riding for a maximum of 15 minute bursts in flat country. Thus the blood flow to the whole leg region doesn’t really get going. In my opinion I don’t think bike riding get blood flow in the legs happening till you’ve been in the saddle for at least 30 minutes with at least 8-10 minutes of that being uphill. When I say uphill I mean that you should be sweating after a ride on a 20 degree celcius day at at least 50% humidity.

4 days ago my lower calves (soleous) were so tight that the muscles were lumpy . After 3 days of riding the muscle tissue is smooth once again. That’s 25-35minutes out and the same again back. After the 1st days ride the sore heel was worse in the morning, but I figured that was because I am unfit. The days after were better.

Stretching before stepping out of bed in the morning

The other note which seemed to be a major point in why it went away before was that I’d stretch before getting out of bed. Spending a few minutes pulling my toes back. I really think this reduced the pain standing out of bed first thing and that pain might have been the fascia around the soleus retearing.

This time when it came back a few weeks ago. I’d been unfit. I rode the bike on the flat <15minutes to the gym and did a legs workout. I think squats to the floor must have done it, but also just generally not being warmed up enough from a decently long aerobic bike ride.