Health: 5 ways on how to relieve flat feet pain

Like many people, I suffer from fallen arches, also known as “flat feet”. It’s not something I had noticed until my late teenage/young adult years as I’ve never really worn high heels so just assumed that the pain from wearing them was due to infrequent wear and not because I have very low arches in my feet.

When I was pregnant with Little Man I started becoming more susceptible to ankle sprains and whilst pregnant (last trimester) with Little Miss, I badly sprained my left ankle walking home one night by missing a step on to the pavement from crossing a road. I remember the crunching sound was so loud I thought I broke my whole ankle but surprisingly was still able to hobble home with a 15mins walk. It swelled that nice and became extremely painful when I got home and sat down.

I carried out the RICE method (rest, ice, compress, elevate) and eventually made an appointment to see the GP but it was too late. The GP confirmed I had torn the whole ligament and because I left it so long (3 months post sprain), it will never fully heal as I was supposed to strengthen the ankle and foot muscles as soon as the ankle was healing and had no pain. Since then I have been extremely cautious – even now, my ankle sometimes gives way and I get mini-sprains but I can carry on with normal activities.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog / photo: Unsplash

With my low foot arch and being prone to ankle sprains what else? I also suffer from over-pronation. What’s that you ask? Over-pronation is when the feet roll/tilt inwards either due to foot alignment or fallen arches. This can cause knee and hip problems in some people. I think most people with flat feet would suffer from some degree of over-pronation. Stability shoes are recommended for us over-pronators but they usually look bulky or just plain ugly.

So how can you relieve flat feet pain?

There’s many different ways but here are five ways which I think are simple yet practical and effective…

1. Choose shoes that support your feet

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to relieve flat feet pain

Working as a spa therapist, I am always on my feet and on top of that, either in bare feet or super flat shoes. Standing for long periods of time can also take its toll on flat feet, resulting in flat feet pain.

Recently I started suffering from really bad feet pain and I couldn’t understand why. After coming home from work I would soak and massage my feet, rest them but they were still in pain. It then dawned on me that it could be due to standing for prolonged periods, combined with flat shoes that offer no support. So I did some research and looked for decent-looking shoes with support. I first checked out Sketchers as my sister said they’re a good brand for support shoes but I wasn’t attracted to any of the designs. They either looked really ugly but practical or just plain bulky. Their trainers looked nice but unfortunately we are not allowed trainers at the spa.

I then discovered FitFlop and saw they had a few nice designs. I’ve always wanted a pair but could never afford buying at full price but they currently have a spring offer on and found a pair I absolutely love!

FitFlop | The Greenwich Mummy Blog

The Übernit Bow Ballerinas shoe is not only cute, it’s also practical and super comfortable. The breathable knit material is comfy, soft on the skin and lightweight making it ideal for a warm spa environment. The soles are slip-resistance which helps when performing massages so no more need to do it barefoot on hard floors!

The shoes are ergonomically designed to provide maximum comfort, thanks to FitFlop’s Anatomicush technology. They give my fallen arches that extra bit of support. Since wearing these babies, my feet don’t hurt as much by the end of the day and some days they stop hurting at all so result! If you work a job that requires you to be standing, walking or just being on your feet all day definitely have a look for a shoe that has good cushioning to give you support and avoid those super flat shoes at all cost. They may look pretty but in the long run, they’ll do more harm than good.

2. Strengthen your (foot) muscles

A no-brainer here. If you experience pain in your feet, it could be due to weakened muscles. Just like any other muscle in your body, the muscles in your feet also need to be worked on and strengthened, especially considering how much we actually use it.

Like our gluteal muscles (bum muscles in layman’s terms) – they are one of the largest muscle groups in our body but are the least worked. The muscles weaken, eventually cause a posterior imbalance that leads to lower back pain and other postural issues. You can find many foot strengthening exercises online; the most popular ones are:

  • Toe curls “toe-towel pickup”
  • Heel lifts
  • Inner and outer edge rolls

Check out this article by Runtastic which has all the exercises above plus a couple more. Ideally aimed at runners but can be for anyone with feet pain. You can also find a couple of other exercises on Arthritis Research UK which also gives you a printable PDF option.

3. See a foot specialist (podiatrist, also known as a chiropodist)

If you’re lucky enough to be referred on the NHS then great but if you’re like me then you will need to look private. According to my local complementary therapies centre, Blackheath Complementary Health Centre who does offer chiropody/podiatry services, an initial 30mins consultation will set you back around £45 and follow-ups around £40 for 30mins. This is quite a reasonable price as I have seen some places charging a lot more by the hour.

Some footwear stores, especially running trainer stores like Asics offer free gait analysis checks in store so you can see discover the pronation of your feet; which would be either over-pronated (feet roll in), under-pronated (feet roll out) or neutral (neutral alignment). If you love going for a jog or run, or run professionally then choosing footwear best suited your pronation can improve your performance and help with stability.

**update** I had my podiatrist appointment and she told me that my feet and femur are anatomically misaligned so there is a natural deformation of the bones – that caused my over pronation and with also having flat feet, my feet are basically F’ed up. She told me I can no longer wear flip flops and I have to buy only stability trainers/shoes from brands like Skechers, Fitflop or Asics and choose the footwear that offers good arch support. That, and the constant wear of orthotic insoles that I can get from Amazon for around £10.

4. Treat your feet to some R&R

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to relieve flat feet pain

Having a good foot soak once a week is a brilliant thing to do and we really should take the effort to make time for our feet.

Feet get neglected a lot until summer when people want pedicures to show off their cute tootsies but it’s not good enough. I’ve set myself a new wellbeing task of treating my body monthly to some good ol’ pampering. Either I do it myself, or if I have a bit of cash then book in for a treatment. In winter, I treated my toes to paraffin wax pedicures which was AMAZING. If you don’t know about this treatment then google it and get ready to book yourself one asap!

Anyone can carry out a good foot soak at home, either in the bath or with a bowl of warm/hot but not boiling water and add in some bubble bath and you’re good to go. You can get fancy and add in bath salts or epsom salts which help refresh tired feet and even essential oils. Finish off the treat by drying feet thoroughly with a towel and massaging in a nourishing foot cream or oil. Put on socks to help the products penetrate a little deeper into the skin.

If you prefer something more luxury, have a look for a foot spa, you can get a decent one from Amazon for around £30-40 but check whether it can be used with bath salts or scrubs if you intend on using those.

5. Put the skyscraper heels away!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to relieve flat feet pain

High heels can give feet pain due to the curvature of the arch in high heels design. Swelling can offer, especially around the ankles due to pressure.

Most people with flat feet will find that they can’t wear high heels or any heels over four inches because of the shortened arch muscles. As the arch is low or completely flat, it cannot extend properly to accommodate the height and curvature of high heels.

Medium, low or kitten heels are the best options for flat-feeters wanting heels. Alternatively, if you crave the height you may be able to get away with blocky platform heels as they offer additional height to the whole foot and the chunky heel provides more stability.

FitFlop sale! Up to 50% off + EXTRA 20% off almost everything with code FLASH20!


This post contains affiliate links

Kids & Family Yoga Brunch at The Canvas Cafe: Saturday 14th April 2018

The Greenwich Mummy | London Family Lifestyle Blogger

Family Yogis!

Join me for a lovely 60mins family yoga session
followed by a fantastic vegan brunch to nourish our bodies.
We’ll also have the chance to chat to other parents and catch up with each other.

I run weekly Kids/Family Yoga classes at The Canvas Cafe in Shoreditch but on the 1st Saturday of the month (apart from April) I will be offering Family Yoga and Brunch.

Our family yoga session consists of yoga poses, storytelling, partner poses, dance, songs, games, massages and relaxation/quiet time. Brunch is £10 but is optional so if you just want to come with your family for the free yoga session that’s totally cool too. 🙂

See you there!

The Greenwich Mummy | London Family Lifestyle Blogger92eb16ad-3ad5-44f4-aa73-e6f8a2e99a04

Health & Fitness: 10 ways on how to beat the January blues

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Family & Lifestyle in London

Everybody knows that January is the most depressive month of the year. As soon as the festivities and long weekends are over, the harsh realities of life sink back in; new working deadlines, more colds and flus going around the office, fewer days of annual leave left as you took them all in December and the lack of sunshine can make us feel a bit shitty to be frank.

If you started a new year’s resolution to become more fit and healthy, you may find that your blue mood will make it really hard for you to stay on track. Well, fear not as there are a few ways to help you make it through the month and I’ve got 10 of them for you to try…

1. Try mindful meditation

It’s just like traditional meditation but a bit more modern and doesn’t involve you sitting in silence for hours cross-legged. There’s loads of books and apps out there that can help you. Even just 5 minutes a day of mindful meditation can help lift your mood.

My favourite mindful meditation techniques are body scans and breath counts. Simple yet extremely effective and you can do them anywhere, anytime of the day.

2. Add yoga to your fitness routine

I’m a big advocate of yoga but not just for the fancy shapes. Yoga is a fabulous exercise that not only strengthens the body, it also helps to calm the mind and helps you to refocus your energy on you. I love sweaty yoga flows as they really help to get the blood circulating, leaving you feeling re-energised, refreshed and like you’ve actually had a workout. I always leave yoga classes feeling much more calm and less stressed too.

If you’ve done yoga before and it’s in your practice, try doing headstands (sirsasana). Going upside down with inversions increases the blood flow to the head which actually helps relieve stress and a bunch of other things. You can find a list of headstand benefits in this article here

3. Go for a walk, jog or run

The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | 5 Brilliant Ways Mums Can Sneak In Exercise At Home

Increased blood flow results in increased serotonin. This article from Psychology Today mentions that there are four ways to increase serotonin; sunlight, exercise, massage, and remembering happy thoughts – most of which I’ve mentioned in this blog post. 🙂

If you’re finding it hard to stay motivated to your NY fitness resolutions, a simple walk can help lift your mood. Why not grab a friend and a coffee if you fancy some company and a good chat. A walk can clock up some good mileage and burn off a lot of calories too. Walking is also considered as an anaerobic exercise so depending on how long you’ve walked for, you may be able to still burn extra calories long after you’ve stopped walking.

4. Give compliments

New research from Superdrug has revealed that for 6 out of 10 Brits a simple compliment in January is the way to stay motivated with New Year goals, with 88% believing more compliments need to be given in January than any other month to encourage, inspire and motivate during the bleak cold winter.

Dr Becky Spelman, Registered Practitioner Psychologist & member of BABCP backs the findings, saying, “When it comes to getting fit, losing weight, or focusing on our health, positive acknowledgement is very useful. Hearing that we are looking good from people, and that the time and effort we have invested in our health are bearing fruit, actually spurs us on to do even more.”

So why not give your fitness friend some friendly words of encouragement and pay them a compliment or two? Sometimes it can take another person to tell you that you look amazing before you can actually believe it yourself.

5. Get a workout buddy

Two heads are better than one… know that saying? Well it applies in the world of fitness especially if you’re finding that the lack of motivation is creeping in. Having a workout buddy not only pushes you to do better, it also pushes them so you’re both mutually benefitting from it. Empowerment is the way to go so don’t forget to pay your workout buddy a compliment too – they should return it to you if they’re a good partner and you may find it’ll also help you to refocus on your fitness goals.

6. Eat well

The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | Family & Lifestyle Blog

This is the time when a lot of people tend to start fad diets in a bid to shift all the extra calories they’d put on over the holidays but it’s really not the way to go if you’re trying to get fit and healthy for the long-term. Yes, you can change your diet but you do it through eating well and eating healthy. You’ll feel loads better on the inside and outside.

Think about your macro-nutrients – eat plenty of protein, opt for complex carbs over simple ones, increase your fibre intake (fruit and veg), cut down on refined sugars and processed foods, and drink more water. If you’re aiming to lose weight, do the above and make sure you’re a caloric deficit (your calorie intake needs to be less than your calorie expenditure) and weight loss and fat loss will occur.

I’m currently enjoying Superdrug’s new health and wellness range, Some Body. They have protein supplements, snacks, and drinks and I’ve been able to try their chocolate protein powder, choc-orange snack bar and pancake mix. Out of the three the snack bar was my fave – nothing beats a chocolate and orange combo! The protein powder was my second fave – it tasted like a melted Mars bar but had 19g of protein and no more than 4g of carbs which is a winner as I like to get my carbs from actual food sources instead of a supplement.

IMG_0495.JPG

I always mix my protein powder with water and a little bit of nut milk. It wasn’t of a thick milkshake consistency which is just how I like it, if you prefer thick just bulk it up with some oats, banana, chia seeds, natural yoghurt or even ice cream. The pancake mix was easy to use and mixed well – I had mine with a small swig of maple flavoured syrup which was divine.

7. Laugh more

Laughter is the cure for everything – legit. If you’re having a rough day, it only takes a good laugh to lift your spirits a little. Stop the January blues from getting you down by visiting friends, work mates or family members and have a good laugh with them. If that’s not possible, why not try out laughing yoga or laughing classes.

Laughing is contagious and I’m sure these classes will leave you with an aching belly and a happier mind.

8. Catch some sun

A lot of us Brits are affected by the weather. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can really leave us feeling low during these darker days. Why not try one of those SAD reducing lights, apparently they do help. Or if you’ve got a little more cash to splash, book yourself a mini-break to a sunnier location. A bit of sunshine will boost your serotonin levels, up your happy hormones and leave you feeling happier and less stressed. I enjoyed a fabulous 5 nights in Ibiza by myself – no kids and no boyfriend and I just lazed around beaches for the entire holiday. I never felt better. I came back a little more calm and a lot more happy.

9. Treat yourself

Spa LONDON Wimbledon Review | The Greenwich Mummy

Whether it’s a spa day, a retail therapy trip to Westfield shopping centre or a night out on the town, do something that makes you happy. Self-care is extremely important for maintaining your wellbeing and keeping you healthy so don’t be afraid to look after yourself first.

For me, I would love a spa day treat or a Drum & Box fitness class at Sweaty Betty’s flagship store, No. 1 Carnaby SB – they have the best classes and their boxing class always leaves me feeling pumped and high on happiness. Their upstairs Farm Girl cafe also offers a range of fabulous hot drinks including a latte black (activated charcoal latte, great for detoxing) and a butterfly matcha latte (no butterflies, just a beautiful blue-hued matcha latte)

10. Change up your workouts

The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | Family Lifestyle Blog

Keeping a fitness diary and/or food diary is one of the best things you can do to keep track of your fitness progress. To keep the blues at bay and motivate yourself to keep fit, plan out your fitness routine for that week. For example, if you wanted to focus on cardio that week, add some new exercises that you’ve not done before to change things up and keep you on your toes.

For me, hitting the gym regularly this month became a chore for me so I didn’t go as much as I usually do but I didn’t beat myself up about it too much. I texted my gym buddy and the next week we were back in there, training as hard as we could. We did our usual routine but added in a few new moves which kept it interesting. Post-workout I felt so good and wondered why I was even hesitant to go and have got my gym spark back again.

I hope these 10 ways to help beat the January blues will come in handy for you. I know it’s verging near the end of the month but that’s not to say you can’t apply them to next month too.

Happy January!


NB. I received a sample of Superdrug’s Some Body products in exchange for this review post. All words are my own and are a true reflection of my personal opinion. The stock photos used have been sourced from Unsplash.

Infographic: 5 ways to boost your metabolism for effective fat loss

To celebrate my 1 year fitness anniversary, I wanted to create something helpful and useful for others who are also on their own fitness journey, starting to embark on one or wishing to start but don’t know how to.

Here’s an infographic that I came up with on 5 ways to boost your body’s metabolism for effective fat loss… enjoy! Let me know what you think of it.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | 5 ways to boost metabolism for fat loss

If you have any questions about the infograph, just leave me a comment below. 🙂
… PS. I made it using Canva

Linking up with:
You Baby Me Mummy

Reduce Your Stress and Get Healthy

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Family & Lifestyle in London

Being healthy isn’t about how much you weigh. Being healthy is about eating foods that are good for us, as well as being active and happy. It isn’t all about your BMI (Body Mass Index), a number that so many people, including health professionals are known to obsess about.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Reduce Stress Get Healthy
Eat more fresh fruit and veg / Credit: Alexandr Podvalny via Unsplash

Stress and emotional eating

Our ability to deal with stress can really have a big effect on our eating habits. Studies show that stress is linked to emotional eating. For some, both emotional eating and under-eating are signs of too much stress in our lives which can cause damage if it’s ongoing, so we need to find a way to keep it under control. Physical exercise is an incredible help in combating stress. Exercise can raise endorphin levels, produce more serotonin and gives us a general sense of well being, even though you might not feel like exercising at the start.


Any exercise will do

Exercise doesn’t mean that you need to start training to run a marathon, or invest in expensive equipment. It can also be low impact on your joints, so swimming is particularly good for this. Yoga is exceptionally relaxing and helps the mind move focus away from the stresses and strains of life. Pilates is surprisingly gentle, but very good for posture and balance and will help strengthen the body.

yoga-benefits
Benefits of a yoga practice
The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | 5 Brilliant Ways Mums Can Sneak In Exercise At Home
Go for a run, walk or jog / Credit: Bruno Nascimento via Unsplash

Walking, the simplest of all exercise merely involves putting your shoes on and going outside. You may not be walking the mythical 10,000 steps everyday, but let’s be realistic, very few people have the time, even if the intention is there. However, a 30 minute stroll has been proven to lower the risk of heart disease, while toning up your legs and bum. Walking outside will boost your vitamin D intake and give you energy. Most importantly, studies have shown that people who walk regularly are less likely to suffer from dementia when they are older. This is certainly an aspect of health that can’t be measured by BMI.


Mindfulness for busy lives

Mindfulness is focusing the mind on the present moment. It is an excellent way to mentally block out external stress. Using a mindfulness app like CALM is a good way to spend five or ten minutes when you have a break from work. Focusing on your breathing and learning to calm your emotions can really help you to deal with stress. If you learn to deal with stress and you can conquer emotional eating.

It is so easy to connect the idea of your health with your weight, and this just shouldn’t be the case. Where the mind goes, the body will follow. Focus on making little changes and the bigger picture will come soon enough. This could be taking 10 minutes a day to focus on mindfulness, or putting on your trainers and having a walk at lunchtime. Using these simple achievable ways to help you deal with stress will soon have you on the path to a happier and healthier you.

The Greenwich Mummy | Westgate-on-Sea best beach for Kids
Sometimes in life, we need to take things SLOW

OM Yoga - Mirror app

 

This contribution post was written exclusively for this blog by Jane Sandwood

How to build muscle without going to the gym…

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - The gym-free way to build muscle
Building muscle without going to the gym is possible.. you just need to know how!

I’m an avid fan for working out in the gym. I love the atmosphere and the free weights area is where you will usually find me… there and the functional fitness area of the gym. You’ll rarely find me on the cardio machines unless I’ve just stepped foot into the gym as I only do cardio at the start of my strength training to raise my heart rate and warm up my muscles. I’m not a cardio fan – give me the squat rack any day! 🙂

However the magical equation to building muscle is very (scientifically) simple… eat a balanced diet to feed your muscles and exercise using your body weight or weights (resistance or strength training) to build the muscle. Okay, there is a little more to this but these are your basic building blocks.

So without further ado, here are some tips by Jane Sandwood, a freelance writer at Totalshape.com on how you can build some muscle without stepping foot into the gym…

How to Maintain Fitness Goals Without a Gym

When you have fitness and health goals, going to the gym may be an integral aspect – or even the focus, of your routine. Gyms offer inspiration, motivation and come packed with various equipment that help you build and strengthen muscle. However, if you have a family, especially young kids, going to the gym regularly, or indeed at all, may not be a realistic option. To stay on track with your fitness journey and keep progressing towards your goals while being a busy parent, consider the following tips on how to build muscle and workout gym-free:

Utilise your own body weight

When you have kids, committing to daily or even weekly gym workouts can seem impossible, but muscle building and fitness never have to be sacrificed. There are plenty of in-home workouts that can be done without stepping outside that utilise your own bodyweight to offer an intense workout that builds and strengthens muscle. Yoga, often considered to be a relaxing and calming stretching routine, actually has many different poses that are considered strengthening exercises, working both your arm, leg and core muscles. Other options to include in your at-home workout routine include lunges, squats, push-ups, crunches, and planks. All of these use your own body’s weight to provide you with a challenging workout routine that will build and strengthen muscle.

The Greenwich Mummy Blogger - The gym-free way to build muscle
Photo by Dominik Wycislo on Unsplash

Invest in equipment

If going to the gym regularly or at all is not possible for you as a parent, consider investing in good quality equipment that will make your at-home workouts more challenging and productive. While exercises that utilise your own body weight are also effective, adding weights to lunges or squats, for example, will increase your strength and greatly speed up your muscle building goals. You can start off with some dumbbells of varying weights, a kettlebell, and some basic leg bands to add some diversity to your weight training. These options can all become staples of any good workout, so even if you choose to upgrade to fancier equipment in the future, you will always have a use for them.

The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | The gym-free way to build muscle
Turn your home into an effective mini gym with some functional equipment

Challenge yourself

Gyms offer inspiration and motivation. At home, you might need a little extra push to stay in the game and on track with your goals. Always make sure to challenge yourself and push yourself. When you find a workout routine that becomes much easier, don’t just settle. Instead, you should increase the weights, amount of repetitions, or both. Set goals for yourself based on your progress, and make sure to hold yourself accountable. This way, your at-home workouts will be just as productive, challenging, and results-oriented as any gym session!

For many parents, working out at home is the best way to ensure that they actually stay on track in terms of their fitness goals. While gyms of course come with many benefits, you can easily gym-ify your own home to make sure to build muscle, while remaining challenged. Incorporate the above steps to your workout routine and reap the benefits of at-home workouts!


A contribution post written exclusively for this blog by Jane Sandwood, a freelance writer at totalshape.com