High-heels, tight and narrow shoes, flip-flops – the hours and hours of painful suffering for our precious feet, faithfully taking us wherever we want to go. Each foot is composed of 28 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons, and is crucial for providing us support, mobility and balance. Still, we tend to focus only on their aesthetic side, and the health of our feet and toes is just an afterthought we have until they start hurting.
Just like any other part of your body, your feet deserve proper care too. Regularly exercising and stretching your ankles and feet, will make them strong and flexible, ensuring that your muscles will provide you with the best support in many days to come.
Here are a few easy exercises you can easily fit into your regular fitness routine.
Warm-Up Your Feet
To prepare your feet for a training session, start with the following exercise.
- Position yourself comfortably in a chair and put your feet flat on the floor.
- Raise your leg so that your foot is above the floor, and start making clockwise circles in the air with your foot, using your big toe. Make 15-20 circles.
- Now, continue with rotations but change the direction of your movements, making them counter-clockwise for another 15-20 circles.
- Repeat this exercise with your other foot.
Bottom Feet Stretch
Use this simple exercise to stretch the bottom of your foot.
- Stand with your feet together.
- Step back with your left foot, with your toes pushing the ground and your heel raised, until you feel that your arch is stretched.
- Hold this position for 20-30 seconds.
- Repeat the stretch with your right foot.
Toes Raise, Point and Curl
This exercise will strengthen your feet and get them moving.
- Sit in a chair, keeping your back straight and your feet flat on the floor.
- Keeping your toes on the ground, raise your heels until only the balls of your feet and your toes are touching the ground. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then release and put your feet back flat on the floor.
- Point your toes until only the tips of your big and second toe are touching the floor. Keep this position for 5 seconds, then back to the feet flat on the floor.
- Raise your heels off the floor and roll your toes inward, until only the tops of your toes touch the ground. Hold for 5 seconds, then back to the starting position.
- Repeat the exercise 10 times.
To increase the strength of your inner foot muscles, try the following exercise.
- Put a bowl with 20 marbles and an empty bowl on the floor in front of your feet.
- Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor.
- Pick each marble using the toes of one foot and place it in an empty bowl.
- Repeat with the toes of the other foot.
Tennis Ball Rolls
One of the ways to alleviate the issue with your fallen arches is this simple exercise.
- Sit comfortably in a straight-back chair, and place a tennis ball under your foot.
- Roll the ball with your foot, focusing on the arch and keeping your back straight.
- Continue for 2-3 minutes.
- Repeat the exercise with your other foot.
Big Toe Stretch
Use this exercise to keep a wide range of motion in your big toe, and stretch and relieve pain in your toes.
- Sit in a chair with your feet on the ground.
- Bring one foot up and place it on the opposite thigh.
- Use your fingers to stretch your big toe up, down and on the side. Hold the stretches for at least 5 seconds.
- Repeat this exercise 10 times, then move on to the other foot.
These exercises will help your feet remain healthy, prevent you from injuries, and ease any existing discomfort or pain.