Friday, 15 January 2016

Exercise for healthy feet

We often overlook the role our feet play in our day to day lives, but just like the rest of your body, your feet need exercise to keep them strong and healthy too!

Your feet have some 26 bones and a complex framework of muscles, tendons and ligaments – an intricate ‘machine’ that absorbs the impact of your full body weight with every step. For those actively exercising to help strengthen their cardiovascular and muscle systems for greater overall health - how often do you remember to stop and actively work on the muscles of your feet?!

Just as you’d tone your muscles in your body, using foot-based exercises to tone and strengthen your feet can be an incredibly beneficial process. It’s not until our feet are sore or suffering the impact of our day-to-day activities that we really remember the role they play in actually DOING those activities!

Add some of these easy foot exercises to your regular activities to help strengthen those feet. As with any new exercise regime, take it gently at first and build up that strength slowly. If you’re not used to regular exercise, speak to your Doctor first.

1. POINT YOUR TOES: Sitting down, extend and stretch the foot in as straight a line with the leg, as long as you can. Release and repeat five times. 

2. ROTATE YOUR FEET: Whilst sitting, extend feet one at a time and rotate slowly at the ankle, as if you are trying to draw the largest circle possible with your big toe. Do this first in one direction, then the other – and complete for both feet, multiple times if you feel the need!

3. WIGGLE YOUR TOES: Sit with feet resting on the floor. Move your toes up and down.

4. TOE GRIP: Drop a sock or small towel on the floor and use your toes to grip and lift it off the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, then release. Repeat five times with each foot.

5. TOE EXTENSION: Wrap an elastic band around all five toes. Expand your toes outwards, and hold for five seconds; then release. Repeat five times on each foot.

6. CALF RAISE: Stand near a counter or a doorway and hold on lightly for balance. Balance on one foot and rise up onto your toes. Hold for 10 seconds, then lower to your starting position. Repeat 10 times on each foot.

7. CALF STRETCH: Sit with one leg stretched out in front of you and wrap a towel around the ball of the foot. Pull the towel back gently until you feel a stretch in the arch of the foot and the calf. Hold for 10 seconds; release. Repeat five times on each leg.

8. MASSAGE: Once you’ve finished these exercises, reward your hardworking feet with a frozen-golf-ball massage.
The icy, textured ball can get into the tiny muscles of the foot, and gives you a deep massage to soothe the sole!  Simply pop a ball in the freezer for a few hours, then roll under each foot while sitting down.

Whilst we can’t “lift weights” with our feet to help strengthen the muscles like you would your biceps, the easiest and best way to exercise them is to just take a walk! It doesn’t have to be a marathon, but taking a walk each day will keep those muscles firm and your tendons and ligaments flexible. Take your dog with you for motivation and company – they’ll appreciate it as much as you do!

If you’re just starting out and your feet aren’t used to the impact of walking on pavement – try walking on grass, dirt or a soft track to help. You’ll find as you progress that you can handle more distance and impact as those tootsies get stronger.

If walking causes you sore legs or feet, you may need to look into arch supports to help support your weight. You can often find over-the-counter arch supports at pharmacies or supermarkets, but we suggest you visit your Podiatrist if you have particularly problematical pain or injuries to contend with. They will soon advise you of the best tools to help address these issues, and can guide you through other exercises to help alleviate the pain and strengthen the muscles from the ground up!

Just like your body, healthy strong foot muscles will benefit you in a multitude of ways! Taking the time to do a few foot exercises in the morning and night will help minimise injury and keep you active in all areas of your life!

Here's to happy, healthy feet!

~ The Easy Living Footwear Team

No comments:

Post a Comment