By Mary Ann Wilson, RN
Your feet are the most neglected part of your body, and yet you rely on them for nearly everything you do. Remember, your foot is a masterful network of 26 bones and 35 joints held together by 120 ligaments and activated by at least 20 muscles, – and yet – how often do you do a workout for your feet – to strengthen and condition them?
Today, you will take 18,000 steps. Let that first step be an exercise to start strengthening the feet in a variety of positions. Practice these feet exercises daily. Begin seated in a chair. If you have good balance you can progress to doing the exercises in a standing position, using the back of a chair or a counter for support as needed.
When you practice these feet exercises, resist the temptation of looking down at your feet. This downward head position puts your neck and spine in poor alignment. Begin each exercise in good posture.
FEET EXERCISE #1 – Outlining
1. Begin slowly outlining the whole foot on the outside edge of the shoe.
2. Reverse direction.
3. Repeat two times in one direction and two times in the opposite direction.
FEET EXERCISE #2 – Side Rolling
1. Roll foot – side – center – side – center — two full sets.
FEET EXERCISE #3 – Swishing
1. Swish ball of the foot, side to side, with heel on floor.
FEET EXERCISE #4 – Lifting
1. Lift toes to right — lift heels to right.
2. Lift heels to left — lift toes to left — two full sets.
FEET EXERCISE #5 – Forward and Back Rolling
1. Roll from the heel through the arch to the ball of the foot ending at the toes. toes.
2. Then roll back from the toes, through the arch, to the heel.
FEET EXERCISE #6 – Toe Presses
1. Lift the heel off the floor resting on the ball of the foot.
2. Start by pressing the area under the big toe into the floor.
3. Go move the point of pressure from the area under the big toe to the next toe.
4. Continue this process until you reach the big toe.
5. Reverse the process working your way back to the big toe.
FEET EXERCISE #7 – Isometric Strengthening
Use inside of shoes for isometric strengthening of toes in various directions.
1. Extend toes up against top of shoes.
2. Curl the toes down against soles of shoes.
3. Spread the toes against the sides of shoes