Introducing Dr. Clara Stroud
Part of a wilderness athlete’s quest for flow state involves building strength, living a healthy life and staying in close contact with their body. To get some pro tips, we connected with Dr. Clara Stroud, DPT, CSCS and owner of The Everyday Athlete.
ASTRAL // What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
Dr. Clara Stroud (DCS) // Breakfast burrito from Tiger Bay Cafe in AVL – AMAZING!
ASTRAL // What’s your first memory of Nature?
DCS // Hiking with my family when I was very young and being so miserable, my dad had to carry me the entire way…very glad my feelings towards hiking and nature have shifted.
ASTRAL // You’re the owner / CEO of The Everyday Athlete Physical Therapy. What makes someone an Everyday Athlete?
DCS // Someone that prioritizes and views themself as active and healthy, with physical exercise being apart of their routine because it’s their passion.
ASTRAL // You’re a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Explain how the two are interconnected.
DCS // Physical therapists specialize in movement, but with a very broad spectrum including geriatrics, pediatrics, neurology, orthopedic, etc. My certification in strength and conditioning allowed me to expand my knowledge in my field I’m more passionate about – movement in the orthopedic/musculoskeletal realm with emphasis on strength building.
ASTRAL // Explain the relationship between strength building and our musculoskeletal structure?
DCS // Strength training (for everyone) is critical due to copious benefits, including but not limited to, boosting brain power, increasing muscle mass, improving sleep, improving mental health, increasing bone density, and improving flexibility. It also translates into better performance with day-to-day activities as well as specific hobbies and sports. Because our entire skeleton depends on the foundation of our bodies—aka our feet—problems there can extend all the way up to the hips, spine and neck. When our feet function properly, they provide a stable base of support, absorb shock effectively, and distribute forces evenly throughout the rest of the body. This not only enhances our ability to move efficiently but also reduces the risk of developing injuries, helping us to stay active and healthier for longer.
ASTRAL // What are the three most important things we can do everyday to stay physically fit and strong?
DCS // Move to some capacity every day of the week–our bodies are designed to move, but not always to the extreme to allow recovery. Mobility work to have the motion for the activities you desire and need to do. Weighted movements to have the strength for the activities you desire and need to do
ASTRAL // You’ve got some rad tattoos. Any stories / inspo behind them?
DCS // Most of them have been on a whim, except for my bigger pieces (sleeve and chest). First one started very small and hidden – got it in Australia on a whim when my friend asked if I’d go with her because no one else would (and she knew I’d be spontaneous). Most are designed around geometry work and nature.
ASTRAL // Why does traditional footwear hinder our potential as athletes?
DCS // Wearing traditional footwear, with narrow toe boxes and heel lifts, everyday and/or during exercise/activity limits our ability to utilize our feet (AKA the things that hold our entire bodies up). Traditional footwear restricts our ability to splay our toes out wide and under-utilize the muscles in our feet, which can cause compensations which can work their way up the chain affecting other areas of the body.
ASTRAL // What do you look for in your footwear?
DCS // Versatile, wide toe box, flat sole, comfortable, and durable.
ASTRAL // Why do you wear Astral Footwear?
First found Pisgahs because I was going to go on a hike straight from work and didn’t have proper shoes with me. So I went to the store down the street and luckily Astral Pisgahs are the ones I picked out. They lasted me through hikes and outdoor adventures on multiple international trips while being comfortable.
ASTRAL // What’s your current favorite Astral Footwear?
DCS // My OG pair–Pisgahs will always have a special place in my heart.
Webbers – all about sliding into easy shoewear for water adventures or when traveling by RV and need something easy and comfortable… that’s when socks and sandals come out!
ASTRAL // Who are you most inspired by?
DCS // Family members.
My mom because she’s always been hard working and selfless, putting others before herself. She suffered from a stroke in 2012 and continues to have limited use of the left side of her body that doesn’t hold her back from continuing to work hard.
My dad because he’s well into his 60’s and can still crush me on a run. He has always had physical activity and health as a priority and it shows. He’s ran in 11 marathons and currently he bikes and runs very consistently.
Dr. Stroud’s boot of choice. Waterproof + breathable, featuring a wide toebox and balanced geometry for foot health.
Dr. Stroud’s sandal of choice, with or without socks. Features a wide toebox and balanced geometry.