Momentum Podcast: 48
The Primal Walk A Simple Habit That Changes Everything
by Alex Charfen
In my research of successful people it was shocking how often the subject of feet came up. Einstein and Jobs both refused to wear shoes unless absolutely necessary because they both thought it affected to their creativity.
Tesla used to curl his toes and do foot exercises each night before he went to bed to unlock problem-solving capabilities.
Chinese medicine regards the feet as a pathway to the rest of the body and shows how they can be used to both diagnose and treat just about any health issue.
The feet have been seen as a gateway to consciousness, health and longevity by a variety of cultures around the world. The more feet came up in my research, the more I followed this tangent and the more I was rewarded. My primal foot program is a complete guide to regaining your feet, flexibility, and physiology. The primary activity in this program is the Primal Walk. While this sound simple, the primal walk may just change your life, and radically increase your level of success.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kids. Those among us who can't turn it off, and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy, and make our greatest contribution.
Sure, we'll pay attention to their rules, so only we can break them, bend them, and rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat, because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world clings to average, and strives for the status quo, we are the minority, the few, who are willing to hallucinate that there could be a better future, and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be.
Welcome to what is now episode 49 of the Momentum Podcast. I am so excited to have you here. This has been just one of the greatest thrills ever, of recording this podcast, putting it out into the world, sharing it with everyone, and getting the feedback that we've been getting. And I'm incredibly excited. Oh, sorry, this is episode 48. I don't want people writing me. 48. And I'm incredibly excited to share this topic with you. The primal walk. A simple habit that changes everything.
You've spent some time with me now, if you've been listening to this podcast, or even if this is your first time, I want you to know, that what I look for in the world is, what are the keystone habits, what are the simple actions we can take that will give us the biggest return, the biggest leverage, the biggest result in our lives? How can we get as much as we possibly can out of doing as little as we can?
And I know that sounds lazy, or maybe like it isn't trying to do as much as you possibly can, but here's the fact. Why don't we try and get as much out of doing as little as we possibly can, so that we can do more, so that we can contribute at a higher level, so that we can make things happen?
And, in my research of successful people, and world changers throughout history, it was crazy how often feet came up. Like Albert Einstein refused to wear shoes. He felt like they constrained him. Same with Steve Jobs. Heck, if you look at Mark Zuckerberg these days, he's rarely wearing them either, unless he has to. Nikola Tesla used to curl his toes every night, and go through foot exercises, cause he felt like it unlocked problem solving and creativity capabilities. If you look at the feet, throughout history, in Chinese medicine, they were seen as way to diagnose and treat all kinds of ailments. And acupuncture on the feet has been seen throughout history as a way to understand the body better.
And then, a few hundred years ago, we created this thing called shoes, and started mass producing them, and we forgot the feet mattered at all. And see, I like to look throughout history, and find the anecdotes, the understandings, the research, the information that people found that changed the world, and I think we've lost so much of it. If you read, or if you listened to the podcast on water, the most important bio-hack there is, something as simple as hydration has really been overlooked by modern medicine.
One of the first questions your doctor should ask you is, "How much water do you drink?" And then get into details, because most modern medications address certain symptoms of a disease, but they also address the symptoms of dehydration. When we look at something as simple as the feet, I think it has this same type of leverage.
So here's how I explain this to people, because what I am suggesting you do, is that you create a new habit, a new routine in your life. You get up every morning, before heavy exposure to electronics, and you go out on what I call, the primal walk, and I'm gonna describe it in detail in just a moment, but first I want to get to how I figured this out, or at least how I created this theory, and then how we've tested it.
In my research, I went down all types of different avenues, but one of the things that, when I was younger, and still today, I've researched in depth, was how to create instincts. How to create reactions that you want. How to trigger natural instincts. See, here's my belief. Human beings have survived for millennia, and we are not a strong species. If you put a baby human with a baby anything else, the baby human is going to die. So, in about 99 percent of cases, and I'm including insects.
So, how did we survive all this time? What were the evolutionary habits, the evolutionary rituals, the things that we've done throughout history, that made human beings survive? And one of the things that I know we did, throughout history, was we walked barefoot on multi plane surfaces that stimulated our feet. Well, why does this matter?
Let me share with you some interesting facts about the feet. If we look at the feet, there's more bones, ligaments, and tendons in the feet than anywhere else in the body. And, when you look at that concentration of bones, of tendons, of ligaments, what is that concentration of parts? That is a control system. The feet actually work, and function as the control system for the entire lower body and, some would argue, for the entire body. And, in our feet, we have more sensitivity than just about anywhere else in the body, except for the lips, and the genitals.
In fact, there's interoceptors, which are nerves that are on the inside of the feet, and exteroceptors, which are nerves that are on the surface of the feet, or the outside of the feet, and these two types of nerves make up proprioception, which is the feet's ability to feel, to give us spatial relationship. To let us understand where we are, and where we are in the world. And when you look at the feet, they are connected to the part of the brain that is responsible for our understanding of where we are, our understanding of directions, our understanding of unique connections.
And so what's interesting about this is that the feet, throughout the last 200 years, have been completely ignored. But, if we look at the part of the brain that is responsible for that spatial relationship, for proprioception, for understanding where we are, when put our feet in shoes, and we stop the sensitivity of the feet, you've reduced the sensitivity, or the awareness of the feet, the ability to feel, by probably 90 to 99 percent by wearing most shoes. We literally put them in a cast, in a box. Our feet can't feel anymore.
And, this is scientific fact, as our feet don't feel anymore, neuropathy starts to occur. If you don't use nerves, or tissue in the body, it starts to atrophy. So the signals from the feet to the brain get lower, and lower, and lower, and that area of the brain responsible for spatial relationships, when it's not stimulated, it has less, and less activity.
So, let's put the math together. Our feet are in casts. We're not stimulating the feet, where we have most of our sensitivity, one of the highest levels of sensitivity in the body, and it no longer stimulates the part of the brain that's responsible for spatial relationships, is it any surprise that, when a 65 year old walks out of their home, and gets lost, they can't find their way back? We're literally shrinking the part of our brain that's responsible for us knowing where we are, where we stand. I would go even further than that. When you extrapolate that, isn't that also the part of the brain that would be responsible for us understanding where we stand in the world, or where we are in relationship to others, or the unique perceptions, the unique understanding of the world that we have? See, I think there's a reason so many famous people, throughout history, went barefoot, or stimulated their feet, massaged their feet, obsessed over the feet, and why there's an entire discipline of medicine, Chinese medicine, around the feet, where they actually show the entire body on foot maps, in reflexology, so that you can both diagnose, and solve issues, simply through the feet.
And so here's my theory. When I studied, and you can tell that I probably have studied a little too much, cause I just mash it all together, but when I first saw that so many famous people, well known people, people I respected, thought about their feet, I started thinking about it. But then I took it one step further, and I started looking at other animals. You know, when a snake eats, the food that passes through its body actually aligns its spine, it's like a chiropractic adjustment. And when a cheetah eats, its colon is like a really short stove pipe, when it eliminates, it actually resets its hips, and allows it to run faster again.
And so I started thinking, when human beings do something, do we have that same type of reset? So here's my thought process. Evolutionary man, if we went back thousands of years, and it was you and me lying in a meadow together, and we slept there overnight, we would both get up in the morning, walk away, use the facilities, go into a full squat, and then walk back. See, I think that act, each morning, of getting up, and walking, actually did something for evolutionary man, cause I know it does something for us, today.
The primal walk will change everything for you, because, if you get up, and you are willing to, before heavy use of electronics, either go barefoot, or, in functional shoes, like Vibram Five Fingers are the most minimal shoes you can take, go outside, and walk for at least 20 minutes, on a multi plane surface, and then incorporate a primal squat, which I'll explain in a second, here's what I believe it does for you. It will reconnect you to your world, and your environment. It will reclaim your feet, reawaken your physiology, help you reduce body pain, increase awareness, connect to your body, reconnect to the people around you. Feel younger, feel faster, feel stronger, and think more clearly.
Can all of that happen from something as simple as a 20 minute walk, in minimalist shoes, or barefoot? The answer is, scientifically researched, and the recent articles, and studies, and surveys around what a 20 minute walk does for human beings, are overwhelming. And, when you combine that 20 minute walk with a multi plane surface, walking in nature, or in the woods, or in grass, they become even more significant, and here's my belief.
We experience trauma on a day-to-day basis, as human beings. We are frustrated, or upset, or ticked off, or confused. And evolutionary activity releases that trauma from the body, and it results in normal tension, normal hormonal activity, when we release the trauma. And that evolutionary activity allowed for physiological, cognitive, and chemical resets. And I believe that some of that activity, or at least two of those activities were walking, and squatting. Because, science today shows, that if a person walks as little as 20 minutes, three times a week, it's the same as taking an antidepressant.
A walk in the woods for 20 minutes changes the chemical composition of your body. Will lower adrenaline, lower thyroid, increase dopamine, increase serotonin. This is like getting a runner's high without running. And when we look at the feet, they are a gateway to the rest of your physiology. They are a gateway to your nervous system. That's why there's so many receptors in your feet that tell you where you are. So, when you get up in the morning, you've just reset your body overnight, and by getting up, and going out for a walk, it changes everything. Now, here's how you do the primal walk. You get up in the morning, before heavy exposure to electronics, leave the electronics behind. Go outside, either barefoot, or in very minimalist shoes. I wear Vibram sometimes, barefoot sometimes, and walk for 20 minutes. And here's how you do it. You stand up straight. Gaze at the horizon, like look at something, as if you're hunting it, or chasing it down as you walk. Breathe slowly, in and out, through your nose, for the entire walk. Don't breathe through your mouth. And keep a decent pace, and allow your hips to move, allow your body to move, allow yourself to walk, allow yourself to feel the ground. It will change how you feel, each morning.
I know this sounds like an overstatement, but I can't tell you how many times one of my clients, that pay me tens of thousands of dollars a year, to work with me, has heard this, and looked at me kind of funny, like, "Holy cow, is this what I paid for?" They get all kinds of other stuff, as well, but I can't tell you how many times one of them, who is making millions of dollars a year, comes back to me, and says, "The primal walk has changed my life." And, "The primal walk has changed everything. It's made me feel different, it makes me more grounded, more centered, more aware. It makes me feel better every morning."
And here's why I think that is. When we look at natural evolutionary activity, making us sane, or making us feel better, if we got up in the morning, and we were sleeping together, we would get up, walk away, use the facilities, and come back. That would happen every day. That short reset allows us to release trauma, release tension, move in the right direction, feel better about ourselves, and move forward.
And, today, in modern society, we wear shoes all of the time that are constraining our feet, they put us on a downhill. Like look at your shoes right now. They're probably, if you're a guy, anywhere from about an eight percent downhill to women, sometimes as much as a 45 percent down, 45 degree downhill. Eight degree to 45 degree downhill. Standing on a downhill causes all kinds of anxiety, and all kinds of other issues. When we put animals on a downhill, they literally go crazy, but people stand there all the time.
You'd think that if we were propelled forward on a downhill, that it would make us anxious, or frustrated, or maybe a little hyperactive, or depressed, or just feeling like we're not in a natural environment. I'm glad most people don't feel that way. Or do they?
See, you can reverse all of this by getting up, and going on your 20 minute primal walk. Now, about halfway through the walk, you want to go into a full squat. Now, I know this sounds goofy and weird, to talk about squatting, but, evolutionarily, in order to be a functional human, you would have to use, quote unquote, the facilities, and in order to defecate, you'd go into a full squat, and do your business.
In the western world, the vast majority of people can't do a full squat. That means that you are a less than fully functional human being. When I figured this out, and I realized I can't do a full squat without my heels coming up, it really frustrated me. I don't want to be a less than fully functional human being. So, by doing the primal walk, and squatting in the middle, here's how you can do it, so that you can go into a full squat, with your heels on the ground. When you go out on your primal walk, find a slight downhill, and just stand on a downhill, with your toes pointed downwards, and, if you're capable, go into a full squat, and you'll find that you can go all the way down, heels supported, and then relax your feet, relax your lower body, and, in this full squat position, after walking, you will fully compress the psoas muscles. You will extend the muscles in your legs. You will cause traction to your back, because a full squat is the only time you get full forward traction in your back, where you separate the spinal cord.
By doing this, going down into a full squat, and staying there for a few minutes, you will completely change your flexibility, and feel different when you get up. And then you do your primal walk again. So, the protocol is, go out, 20 minute walk, squat in the middle. There's a lot more details, that you can get by going to primal foot dot com, but you can start this tomorrow morning. Because here's what I believe. As evolutionary hunters, we were meant to move. We were meant to reset our bodies every day, physiologically. We were meant to feel, to understand, to use the proprioception in our feet. To feel the world around us. And, today, we take our feet, and shove them in casts, and expect everything to function normally, in our bodies.
When you look at the incidents of how many people are having hips replaced, knees replaced, now there's even gonna be ankle replacements. Why do we have such insane weakness in our legs? Well, we're taking the control system for the lower body, and limiting it like crazy. We're putting it in a cast. If we were to take our hands, and put them in mittens that kept them stiff, and straight, our entire upper body would atrophy. That's exactly what's happening to our legs, our hips, our lower back, our mid back. If you're experiencing pain anywhere in these areas, getting up and doing the primal walk every morning will change that for you, completely.
The added benefit of doing the primal walk is that it will get you out of fight or flight mode if you breathe slowly, in and out, through your nose, like we talked about yesterday, it will get you out of the adrenal, and thyroid loop, and into a dopamine, and serotonin loop. In fact, most people who try this tell me that, just after a few days, they feel even a bit of a runner's high, just from doing the 20 minute primal walk.
So, for you, as an evolutionary hunter, tomorrow morning, make the decision to leave the electronics at home, go outside, and, if you haven't walked in a while, this might feel weird. If you haven't taken your shoes off, and walked on grass in a while, you might experience what most would call pain, I would call sensitivity. You might have to take it easy.
Just walk a little bit on the first day, and a little bit more the second day. But, if you can get to the point where you're walking 20 minutes a day, feeling the ground, on multi plane surfaces, you're doing that squat, where you go down for a couple minutes, and fully release the muscles in the body, that squat position changes our physiology, you'll see. You go down into the squat, with your heels supported, you feel a different type of stimulation, a different type of sweat. You'll feel momentum in your body. The primal walk changes everything.
So I want you to create momentum each morning. I want you to release the trauma of the day before. I want you to relieve tension in your body, get a full circulatory system reset, a lymphatic system reset. To feel your feet, and reawaken your neurology, and connect back to who you are.
One of the fastest ways I know how to do it, is the primal walk. And, like I said before, if you want more information on the primal walk, if you'd like to read the full report that we prepared, it's available for free. Just go to primal foot dot com, and download the free report. You can check it out. And let me know how this works for you. Shoot me a message. Leave the review on the podcast. If you try this, and it works, send me a message through Facebook, because I've collected hundreds of testimonials, and reactions from people who have had their lives changed by something as simple as a 20 minute morning walk. The primal walk, literally, will change your life.
Thanks for being here with me on episode 48 of the Momentum Podcast. We, as I record this, just hit 35,000 downloads, so it's getting more, and more exciting by the day. And I just want to thank you. For listening, for sharing this time with me, for downloading the podcast, for reviewing it, and for sharing it with your friends. Because we've done no advertising, and nothing else to get this out there, other than organic posting and sharing, and it's overwhelming that we have had over 35,000 episodes downloaded, and we're only on episode 48.
I am looking forward to sharing with you, tomorrow, episode 49, a personal one. Entrepreneurs, and panic attacks. It's about time we start talking about this, get it out in the open, and share, so that we all know, one, how normal it is to feel them, and two, that we are not alone, and there is nothing wrong with us. Thanks for being here with me, I look forward to you experiencing the primal walk, and sharing with me how it went for you.