My sister forwarded me a few pictures of her granddaughter (and my grandniece), Esme, a few weeks ago. As you will see from the shots, she is growing in leaps and bounds (for those of you who regularly follow my blog, you will notice quite a difference from my last shots about 4 months ago). I wanted to feature the photos in a special blog due to the progress shown around barefoot activity.
Esme’s feet are so developed at age 2 years and 4 months that she can climb and run on virtually any surface. Her mom tells me that she never complains of aches and pains in any part of her body, shows perfect balance and alignment and is strong and powerful through her whole muscular chain.
I know this appears to be unbelievable BUT I know first hand that this is so – having chronicled Esme’s development since age 3 months. With each passing month of increased barefoot activity, she gets stronger, healthier and more confident in her ability to handle any challenge. In a word, she is FEARLESS – and, as a coach, trainer and competitive athlete, I am all in with this!!
Please note Esme’s feet specifically as she climbs a giant boulder in the Muskoka bush-land. Look carefully at how the toes of her right foot naturally grip the crack in the boulder as Esme prepares to push off. Also, you will see her balancing on the mid-foot of her left leg with full leg extension. Her back is level with her head in line between her shoulders and her arms locked for balance.If you can visualize the size of the boulder and the severity of the angle from the bottom to the top, you will appreciate just how strong and under control young Esme is at such a young age. I will argue with anyone that this is due close to 100% to her being barefoot for most of her young life. Her feet get activated by the rough edges of the boulder which in turn activates the rest of her muscular chain. She then confidently lifts, pulls, pushes her body up, over, under and around all types of objects and surfaces – without injuries, without falling, without tripping. I dare anyone to show me kids who can climb, run and move like Esme in COFFINS. They simply cannot do it without developing some sort of problem (sore knees, hips, backs, ankles).
In the next photo, you will notice Esme running free and easy through the deep sand on Inverhuron Beach (Lake Huron). Her left foot lifts easily out of the sand and prepares to land mid-foot and forward in perfect Squat-Scoot action. The knee drive forward is perfect – what I call ‘paw-back’. Thisallows her to get the foot landing under the hip for a light, quick turnover with NO sudden impact. Her right leg is bent at the knee and the foot is pushing forward with power. Her shoulders are square and hips are centered for balance. The right arm is driving through to help led the rest of her body forward – not up and down. This results in a more efficient, powerful running motion. Finally, Esme is looking down at her hand – why, you ask? Well, she IS only 2/14 years old AND she’s carrying shells to the water!!
What I find truly engaging about Esme’s barefoot activity is that she has NO idea of the progression. She only knows that doing EVERYTHING barefoot FEELS great. She also knows that this allows her to do things that she loves without fear of injuring herself. I ask you, parents, what could be any better than THAT??!!