Thursday, August 23, 2012

Collegiate Feet - Part 1 - The Challenges

English: Altgeld Hall, the University of Illin...
English: Altgeld Hall, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Well, it's the end of August.  Time for schools to start and students to pack up, leave home and head for college for another year.  It's always an exciting time. 

I still remember those days well. I attended The University of Illinois,  a large (very large) university, and I lived in a house that was on the outside edges of campus so that meant a lot of walking. One semester I had two classes on my schedule  at the opposite end of campus.  I ended up biking that day because there was no way, even with running that I'd make it to the second class on time.  But the rest of the time it was much easier to walk even though it was a hike for each class.

Where your feet are concerned, college attendance can be a challenge. Let's take a look at some of the foot health challenges for a typical college student:

1.  Walking:  For most students, there is a lot of walking in college and walking is good.  Very good.
For most students, however, that walking isn't so good because the shoes they choose are not right for good foot health.

When we went to visit a friend at her new college campus a couple of years ago I was surprised at how many students were wearing flip flops - you know, the cheap $1 kind you can get at WalMart or Target?  Formerly only thought of as beach wear, the flip flop is a staple in the youth culture.  Although they are flat, the amount of toe gripping that you need to do to keep those flip flops on your feet while walking makes for some extremely stressed out feet.

2.  Sitting:  College means classes.  Classes means sitting.  A lot.  For long  periods of time. In uncomfortable chairs.

The long and sometimes boring classes in college combined with the uncomfortable chairs or theater seats mean that not only are you sitting but you're sitting incorrectly ... a horrible combination. Unfortunately the nature of college study makes it next to impossible not to sit in class since you typically need to take notes, etc.  Thankfully, however, most students will have to get up and walk a ways to their next class.

3.  Slouching:  The collegiate day is not over after classes end.  There is the endless project work, essay writing, library research, etc., to do in the evenings. 

What does that mean?  More sitting, more slouching... just more bad stuff for your feet and body.
Try as you might to sit properly, it's just plain hard when you're trying to concentrate on your studies.  But you should try!

4.  Bad dorm food:  Not really related to feet but admit it - if you've ever eaten dorm food you'll agree this is a challenge.  But it also means more sitting! Plus your toes and feet are connected to the rest of your body and if you're not eating foods that energize and fuel you, you won't feel like moving or ultimately get sick - and that's bad for your feet!

So what's a student to do?  Come back tomorrow where we'll talk about some ways to help counteract all the negative foot harming habits you may be experiencing in your college days.

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