Every part of the body needs exercise to stay in shape, and the feet are no exception. They’re one of the most important parts of the body, the foundation of our bodies without which we couldn’t run, walk or stand, yet they are often overlooked in our daily workout routines. These simple exercises increase strength and balance whilst reducing the chances of injuries. They can be done in the home with no specialist equipment, so incorporate them into your workout routine today!
1. Towel Curls
Towel curls strengthen the intrinsic foot muscles which support the arch of the foot, and reduce the symptoms of plantar fasciitis (pain in the heel). This exercise works best on a smooth floor such as linoleum or laminate.
- Sit down on a chair with a towel under one foot. Scrunch the towel towards you using all your toes.
- Push the towel back away from you by stretching your toes out.
- Repeat the exercise ten times for each foot.
- The exercises level of effort can be increased by placing a weight such as a tin can on the end of the towel.
- Ensure you use all your toes, including the little toe, to perform the exercise effectively.
2. Calf Stretch
Calf stretches prevent the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia from becoming overly tight.
- Sit down on the floor with one leg outstretched.
- Wrap a towel around the front of foot.
- Gently pull back on the towel.
- Hold the stretch for ten seconds, repeating five times on each foot.
3. Toe Extensions
Toe extensions increase mobility and prevent injuries. They are also an integral part of injury rehabilitation.
- Sit down on chair, place your right foot on the knee of the other leg, cradling it in your right hand and placing the fingers of the left hand under the toes.
- Gently push the toes back until you feel the stretch through your toes, sole and heel.
- Hold the stretch for thirty seconds, swap feet and repeat three timers on each foot.
4. Calf Raise
Calf raises improve balance while strengthening the feet and calves.
- Stand in front of a chair or counter, for balance.
- Balancing on one foot, slowly rise up onto your toes.
- Hold the stretch for ten seconds, repeating ten times for each foot.
5. Toe Flexor Stretches
Toe flexor stretches strengthen the extrinsic and intrinsic muscles of the feet, and can help with the treatment of plantar fasciitis and spraining of the ligaments around the big toe.
- Wrap an elastic band around all the toes on one foot. Do not wrap it too tightly, there should be a slight give.
- Stretch the toes apart.
- Hold the stretch for five seconds, repeating five times on each foot.