With the New Year many flock to the gyms or get their resolutions ready. Why not take 10 minutes out of your day to start taking care of your feet as well.
It has been proven that foot exercises help increase mobility, prevent injury, increase circulation and resolve many foot issues.
Here are some exercises you can do at home:
Toe raises and curls
Start in a seated position barefoot, raise your legs on your toes and hold for 10 seconds. With your toes weight bearing, curl your toes as if you are gripping the floor and repeat 5-10 times, holding for 10 seconds.
In a seated position barefoot, balance your feet on your heels and spay your toes for 10 seconds and then grip, like creating a fist with your toes. Repeat 5-10 times on each foot.
Towel pick up
Barefoot again, throw a towel on the ground and start gripping and releasing the towel with your toes until it is bunched up underneath your feet. Next, use your toes to straighten the towel. Repeat 5-10 times.
Find a carpeted area in your house and walk around barefoot trying to grip the floor with every step and feel the surface throughout your whole foot. Be mindful of gripping the ground and pushing off with force at your big toe. If you don’t have any carpet around your house, then walk around barefoot but try to make as little sound as possible when walking. Silent walking allows your foot to grip the ground with full force and transfers energy through every step (same as sand walking).
This can be done at a desk, while watching tv or before bed. Raise your legs so your feet are not touching the ground and roll your ankles 10 times clockwise and 10 times counterclockwise. This exercise helps promote circulation and prevent limitation at the ankle ligaments and muscles of the foot.
With your leg raised and your foot pointed, spell out your full name with one leg and then the next. The movement should be centred around your ankle. Again, this helps improve flexibility and circulation at the ankle.
Stretching out your calves is a very important exercise as it helps loosen up your posterior compartment of your leg which is also attached to the bottom of your foot. These exercises include using a rubber band around the bottom of your foot and keeping your leg straight while pulling on the band. Another exercise is standing at the edge of stairs and dropping your heels.
While barefoot, stand flat on the ground and raise your heels so you are standing on the tips of your toes. Drop your heels and repeat this exercise 5-10 times and hold the last one for 10 seconds. You can work your way up to doing single heel raises – standing on one leg and raising your heels.
This is the ultimate toe-yoga move, often times called the Sun-salutation for your toes. With your bare feet firmly planted on the ground, raise just your big toe up (giving thumbs up) and keep your lesser toes firmly planted on the ground. Hold for 10 seconds. Then reverse, keeping your big toe firmly planted on the ground, and raise your lesser toes. Don’t worry if you can’t get this right away, sometimes it takes a little practice or even using your hands to help.