In this episode, Mark and Rowan discuss how the root of that daily ache we feel in our necks, knees or back could be the result of the poor design of our footwear. The pair also discuss steps we can take to ensure that when out walking with our dogs, we are able to be as in the moment as possible and really take time for a well-deserved breather!
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1:27 Getting the best out of walks with your dog
2:14 The ills of modern shoes
8:48 Meditation and being in the moment.
14:08 Coherence Heart Trainer
14:30 The Five Stresses
23:44 Coming next week…
Rowan: So! Mark Scott, as I live and breathe. You’re looking younger every week. Welcome to this week’s podcast. How are you?
Mark: I’m very, very cold.
Mark: Cutting my hair on the way up to winter makes total sense.
Rowan: Yes. Yes, to be honest, I don’t really think there was that much thermal quality in your hair, Mark.
Mark: Thanks mate. Well, I just thought there’s no way I’m going to beat you anyway. Not with that bouffant. So I just thought, you know what, don’t even try it.
Rowan: It’s not a competition, Mark. Collaboration is the new competition. That’s what this is all about.
Mark: It was hilarious. People said — Oh, I like your hair much better like that. Anyway, Rowan, what are we talking about this week?
Rowan: Your hair, Mark.
Mark: So this week we’re going to chat a little bit about, obviously walking plays a major part and role in anybody who has a doggy or doggies. So I thought we could chat a little bit about walking your dog and how to make sure you get the best out of it. Both for yourself and for your doggy.
Rowan: Well, if we were to be honest, Mark, we were talking about this. Weren’t we?
And we were both commenting on the amount of people on both the group and just generally who we’re chatting to, who were complaining about back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain. And in your big beautiful bio-hacking brain, we were just chatting about — wow, for active people, what’s going on?
There you are. Queued you up there.
Mark: Yes, you did. You did. So, one of the things that I think I think we don’t take into account is how much we don’t walk around in bare feet anymore, and how shoes today, modern shoes can really affect your whole posture from your knees right up to your neck, and how we’re not geared towards wearing shoes all the time. Certainly the thicker soles. And I think there’s something like one third of your bone structure is actually in your in your feet and that shows you how much is going on in your feet.
And yet, as always, we create these things called shoes and we start to mess with the whole system of our body, which has been going to 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 years working perfectly well.
And if you look how children run around on the feet, they tend to run on the front of their feet. And then over time, when we put shoes on, we start to walk on the heels of the feet.
Were you ever a runner?
Mark: So when I did a certain type of “chi” running, they call it.
Mark: — you to run on the front part of your feet and not hitting the heal. Because what happens is every time you land on the heel you literally stopping, and then you’re having to push over. So you taught to lean forward. And then on the front part of the foot, on the ball, I forget what this part of their foot is called. I guess it’s the ball. And then bounce forward and use gravity and nature. Gravity to propel you forward, which is much more natural.
But now the way in shoes, what we had to do is start hitting our feet on that, and I think that’s impacting a lot of people that can give you back and neck and feet and legs issues around you.
So your feet should be quite wide. But you think, modern shoes, they got you pushed your toes together. So again, it has a real impact on how your standing. And the little changes to our neck can make a massive impact. On the back of your neck for example.
Rowan: We’re covering lots of ground here. No walking puns intended. I like what you’ve done there, Mark. In fact, a very good friend of mine who trains iron man and triathletes and the like, often employs a specific running shoe — and it will remain nameless — which actually tilts people forward to re-educate them how to run.
Now, the interesting part of this is there has since been a load of people who have used these transition, and then running in the whole barefoot concepts or those — I can never ever, ever pronounce this — is it the “churachi” or “Hurachi” sandals?
Mark: Yeah, I’ve seen them. I’ve seen them.
Rowan: Yeah. I saw somebody, I mean, literally probably 10 years ago, there was a gang of guys in the New York marathon running in them, having read that book “Born to Run.”
To be honest, I don’t think we are born to run. I don’t think he does this very well. But definitely interact with the surface. Our primary, primary interaction with the earth’s surface and it gives us so much information — on posture — and much like kibble leading to poor health in dogs, I am, like you, not totally, totally convinced that how our foot interacts with the surface we walk on really has an impact on our whole postural alignment and the rear chain.
Mark: It’s all connected, isn’t it. From the top of the head right down to your feet. And there’s so many sensors on the bottom of our feet. It’s imperative that you do look at your shoes. And there is a few brands out there. We weren’t going to name any. But if you just google barefoot shoes or something along that lines. And it certainly improves I think, with fashion and look over the last ten years.
Mark: So I think, yeah, definitely it’s worth checking your feet out, checking your shoes out, and especially if you’re walking dogs.
And the other thing with walking dogs — I like, when I’m walking dogs…
Obviously you’re not doing a lot of walking at the moment your pack I’m assuming?
Rowan: I’m not walking the pack. But I am taking Kismet out on the beach. And to be honest, because the beach is 500 meters away, and I say this humbly and very gratefully, albeit it is by design, I do get to walk barefoot on the beach and run on the beach barefoot.
Mark: Have you noticed a difference since you’ve been doing that? Like in your strength in your calves and stuff like that?
Rowan: Yeah I have. And funnily enough, when I worked in the city and used to commute every day and wore shoes and a suit and all the rest of it, I was constantly plagued with lower back pain which has totally gone away. And then actually that got, if anything worse, when I first moved here. Why? Because I was walking around and flip flops all the time. Which is terrible for your posture.
Mark: It is. Well you’re trying to grab the front of your flip flop as well, though, to…
Rowan: I like what you’re doing there, Mark. You’ve almost got toes like the Lost Boys [laughs]
Mark: You can get the ones which actually have five toes, which are actually much better, because it saves you trying to do that all the time, but you’re not realizing doing it.
Rowan: But it did get kind of a little bit worse in flip flops. And then as soon as I just ditched it and was walking everywhere pretty much barefoot, obviously not in the street. That’s just not hygienic. And this is why we have to applaud shoes because they do serve a purpose. They stop our feet from freezing and prevent us stepping on needles and sharp things and getting infections. But…
Mark: Where are you walking? [laughs]
Rowan: I like to go scavenging the bins. It’s like Fight Club. [laughs]
So anyway. To answer your question. Since I spend most of my day barefoot… And funny, your prompt has just made me realize I can’t remember the last time I had back pain.
Mark: Well, there you go. So you just did it. And then naturally, because your body’s working, naturally.
So the other thing I personally like to do when I go walking, is, I like to do a bit of meditation. And meditation, not like sitting down cross legged in the middle of the woods, going…
Rowan: Oh, please say it it, Mark.
Mark: This bloke in the middle. Don’t recognize him.
So I just take time out, listen to the birds, just focus on the noise, breathe, take couple of minutes out before I start my walk. I try to. I’m not great at it every morning, because like most people, they have a log going on in their brain. I try being mindful, because if there’s anything that dogs teach you, it’s about being in the moment, and kids are the same as well. They’re great at just being in the moment.
Rowan: Taking this theme of being grounded. And you’ve actually, you’ve just moved seamlessly from being physically grounded with your feet to protect your back to being mentally grounded to protect your psyche and your stress levels. You are just moving with it. Honestly, since you’ve cut that hair off, your brain is functioning so much better. I think you’re more connected to the universal source.
Mark: I think it’s just that. My hair was inflammation, really, I think, if you looked at it.
Mark: So I think when you have… I take my kids out. They moan and moan and… And when they go out, what should have been a 10 minute walk takes 10 hours, because what they end up doing inevitably, is start having fun and then enjoying the moment.
And I think, quite often when we’re out with the dogs, one thing we can know, is the dog is just to be in the moment. Just enjoy it. Just stop. When you’re walking around, don’t be thinking — I’ve got to pay the bills, I’ve got to make dinner, I’ve got to…
It’s being mindful and concentrate on just being there.
There’s been so many studies on what meditation does to the brain.
Rowan: Yeah. Totally. Funnily enough, it’s one of the things I get every single one of my clients to do, because it’s one of the five primary stressors, is mental or emotional stress, you know, the noise that’s going on in our head.
There’s obviously a difference between mindfulness and meditation. And you were talking about mindfulness earlier.
Funnily enough — and this one’s again, totally uncracked — I had a really good session with a mindfulness coach earlier this week. And she was talking to me about always returning to breath, but she said — given you’ve got such beautiful dogs, isn’t it important to practice this with them and just actually focus on the details of enjoying them when you’re out walking them.
I said, yeah, you know what? This is so ridiculously true. One, I know it already. Two, I talked to other people about it. But three, it’s really good to be reminded about it. Because we’ve all got magpie brains and we’re chasing the next thing or something. Just to actually return to source and go — I’ve got beautiful dogs that I love that improve the quality of my life, and hopefully, I theirs. Just by enjoying that can actually dramatically increase not only the length but the health you enjoy in your life.
Mark: Absolutely. And I think there’s a short way to get into this is — often we think meditation’s a big thing; it’s really quite simple. I mean, like you said, just focusing on the puppies. But what you can do is when you arrive, wherever you come, have something that just triggers you. Go right, that’s just going to stop. I’m going to take several breaths in, seven seconds breathing; hold for like four seconds. And just breathe out for seven seconds. And do that like five times, six times, and just focus on that and you’ll just find that your whole body, your brain, everything just calms down, and just get into that zen moment. But it just sets you up and your brain is just going to slow down and you’re just going to feel so much more relaxed. Your heart rate drops, and you will enjoy the walk a lot more. And more importantly, so will doggy.
Rowan: Yeah. Well, dogs are so good at picking up on this.
You know this, I’m sure already. Our heart emits an electrical signature which is detectable to up to 20 feet. So if somebody comes in the room and they’re like super stressed and angry, you can feel it, if you’re not looking. It’s like, if you walk into the pub and you look and you go — oh, look at that dog, how gorgeous that dog under that table, 20 feet away, we’ll go, oh, hi, first incoming — and will make eye contact with you. Your heart emits an electrical signature, which is detectable and we can now trace it.
But what you’ve said is actually totally validated and quantifiable by science. So if you were to use the heart math’s, it’s called heart coherence. There’s a little app on your phone, which you can put click onto your ear, is not simply about your heart rate dropping. It’s about the coherence between the contractions, between the parasympathetic response or stimulus and the sympathetic stimulus.
And I’m going to come around to that in a second, but here’s a really cool fact. Stress is the root cause of every single disease on the planet. They’ve now tested over the last 20 years that your ability to improve heart coherence, i.e., to drop into the parasympathetic nervous response, which is rest and repair, is one of the biggest indicators of longevity.
Mark: Every disease. So we’re talking about…
Rowan: The root cause of every single disease is stress.
Mark: And that can be stress mentally. Stress…
Rowan: Right. Stress, we’ve got different types of stress. So you’ve got mental or emotional. You’ve got kind of — and that would be, oh, horrible boss relationship turmoil, or getting rid of it, communication and actually having a really nice time with the people we spend time with. Let’s always think of it in the positive.
Spiritual stress would be not really knowing that you’re pursuing your purpose. Uh, and that’s why people who tend — in these blue zones — who tend to live really long lives, have a purpose. They’re surrounded by community and feeling like they’re contributing to society.
Then you’ve got internal stresses. That’s like parasites, bacteria, we’re always talking about these obvious ones, which have like apple cider vinegar and raw garlic and the rest we’ll deal with. But that also is food intolerances and leaky gut. Those are our internal stresses.
Now our external stresses are kind of an environmental ones. So the environmental ones, are shampoos, cleaning products, all these type of things.
And then the final one is physical stresses and that’s over-exercise. And I got to say that I would say 75 percent of the people that are currently seeing me for help are over exercising rather than under exercising.
So if we go back through the five, we’ve got mental/emotional, spiritual, internal, external and physical. So there’s our five stresses.
So if it’s not that stress, any particular one of these is the root cause of disease. It’s that a combination of these five tips the see-saw. OK. So we know that if you’ve got all of these going on, and your see-saw, your stress balance is like this, and then suddenly you’ve got mental and emotional on top of that and you’re having a really stressful day. Well, that can tip you into ill health. You’re releasing a lot of cortisol. Which is like your fire brigade which goes around and deals with inflammation.
So if you can take one of those things off just by practicing either mindfulness or meditation or gratitude or presence, or a combination of all of those things, you start to right the load.
It’s not necessarily going to be the antidote to everything. If you’re swimming in mercury or living in a super-polluted state, it’s not going to necessarily undo it, but it’s going to certainly stop things getting worse.
Mark: I’ve found that by taking that time out as well, it allows you to affect the other ones as ell. Because, if you take the mindfulness of it, you feel better. Now, most people tend to eat things that are bad for them when they’re kind of in a stressed state.
Rowan: Oh, when they’re being “mind-less.”
Mark: Mindless. Yes. So when they say, “I’m going to treat myself.” Usually it means you’re not treating yourself. You’re actually damaging the body because you’re eating the wrong things.
Rowan: Yes. Totally.
Mark: You become mindful of that. And then that then turns out the brain work better, which in turn…
So just by doing one or two small things can affect all the other stresses that you’ve described there.
We like to have a lot of what we call “rocks.” We have our rocks for the 90 days, I have my rocks for my day.
Because you get a lot of noise. Like, oh… It just goes on. One thing. Whatever that one thing in that day done, everything else is a bonus.
Rowan: I love that how you describing this. This is great, Mark. I’m really enjoying. I’m going to use that. I’m going to actually recycle that with clients.
Rowan: Thank you.
Mark: By the end of the walk. Actually the guys in the office hate me when I go on walks as well because I actually listen to lots of podcasts. So I’m educating myself as well. And of course, coming to the office with like 10 different ideas about what should do by next Tuesday.
But bearing that in mind. I’m listening to positive, positive things. I’m always reinforcing the positive.
Rowan: Very mindful, though, on the walk. This sounds to me like you’re trying to multitask.
Mark: I do my mindfulness on the way up and then I do my… Because I don’t need that long. I mean, there’s only so many brain cells I have.
Rowan: Have you painted yourself into a corner here?
Mark: No, no, no, no. I’m totally comfortable.
Mark: I can deal with it now. So I take my time out. I listen to the birdies or whatever. And then about halfway through the walk or like two fifths of the way on the walk, I start doing my education.
Rowan: Do I need to put my hand up and say I was gently teasing you?
Mark: That’s alright. I don’t mind being teased.
Mark: I thought I got through all that emotional stuff in school man! [laughs]
Rowan: Yeah. Wait until I’m round your house, I’m going to stick one on ya!
Mark: I guess to recap on how we got started on this. This was all about when you’re going on a walk with your doggy. One, look at the shoes that you’re wearing, because it could be affecting your back. And already, Rowan’s admitted been a little bit actually I just realized it myself] Two —
Mark: … good for your posture, stuff like that.
Rowan: Well, I wasn’t skeptical about being in contact with the ground, I’m just skeptical about some of those gopping shoes.
Mark: There’s no fashion police out there. You’ll be alright.
Mark: And then being mindful and using that using that whole piece before. You just stay and walk, just your intentions with it. So that walk with your doggy. Just enjoy it. Because life isn’t going to fall apart just by you taking 10, 15, 20, 30 minutes out and getting yourself ready for the day. So just get into the habit of taking that time out and using it as your time. Be selfish. Because any way you can achieve more is by being selfish is putting your own mask on first before you help somebody else. So I just find that in the morning doing that sets myself up for the day and that’s how you have usually a kick ass day.
Rowan: Yeah, I agree with that entirely. I would just qualify that as oxygen mask rather than Halloween mask.
Mark: [laughs] Well I cannot saying gas mask, but that’s wrong as well.
Rowan: Yeah, absolutely. No. Mark. That’s… I really like that. For real, I think that’s a splendid summary.
Quite often, what we consider as nice-to-haves should actually be the essentials.
Rowan: Frankly, I’ve noticed, because I’m doing a daily meditation twice, and trying to do some mindfulness as well, at random points throughout the day — is that I generally tend to have a way more productive and focused day than flailing around with the amount of things on my to do list.
It’s shown by the way to massively improve resilience both to disease, stress-related diseases, all of them, because your response is obviously governed by the way you are. But generally your enjoyment of life. So not only are you being more productive. You’re enjoying more, and you’re going to live a longer life.
Rowan: Is there any downside? No. I’m in.
Mark: Absolutely. Absolutely. So you’ve just recently done a couple of Facebook lives? You’ve been covering off a pancreatitis. And you did one on epilepsy?
Rowan: Yeah, I did one on epilepsy actually. Yes.
Mark: That’s brilliant. So if you want to see them go on our Facebook later. We are going to try and put some of these on the podcasts as well.
Mark: Extras. Wee extras. WEE EXTRAS! That’s what we will call them!
And next week, actually, not next week. I’m actually out in your neck of the woods, we’re going to be hanging out. And we’re going to be talking about a topic that’s really close to our hearts. And that’s cancer. We’re going to really delve into that. With you, Sadie and I, and a bottle of wine, I believe. And really delve into the depths of that and what our opinions are.
It’s funny. I’ve been researching this and have so many ideas on it. I’m very excited about covering this.
Mark: This could be quite a long podcast. But that’s cool. We’re in it. We’re in it.
So, Rowan, I think that’s it. Unless there’s any news we need to add, but I think that’s pretty much…
Rowan: No. Absolutely not. We’ve got a couple of really cool podcasts booked up and ready to roll. We’ll cover those as and when they happen.
I’ve got a couple of new products in the hopper. We’ve already mentioned those. We’ll discuss those again when they’re nearer to fruition. So we don’t sound like a merry go round, and just a merry-making go around instead. Like what I did there?
But I’m living the whole presence, Mark. That’s good.
Mark: Yeah. Well, in this moment. We’ve got presence. If you could just hop over to iTunes and leave a five star review because it really helps us get the message out there.
Mark: With the rankings. Of YouTube. On YouTube, come and say hi as well. Come subscribe to the YouTube. But on the iTunes it would be wonderful if you could give us a little review and a five star on there. If you like it.
Rowan: Yes. I’m in for all of that. And of course we do want to encourage people to join the group, especially people who aren’t customers. Really, yes, it’s nice to sell dog food. The reality is, our mission is to save as many dogs’ lives as possible. So just by getting this information out there to people, we are potentially leaving a positive, like I say, and that’s what we’re all about.
Mark: Great. Come join the Facebook group. All you have to do is go to Facebook and type in Bella and Duke. It’s a closed group. You’re welcome to come and join us.
Mark: Alright. Thanks Rowan.
Rowan: Mark. Thank you.
- Have a tremendous rest-of-day, my friend.
Mark: Will do. You too.
Tags: dog walking, meditation, mindfulness