You spend hours pumping iron, crunching your abs and upping the mileage you can run. You think you’ve stretched out all the important muscles but when relaxing later that night your feet are killing you! You, like most people, forgot to strengthen and stretch your oh so important base. Your feet and ankles!
Don’t get me wrong, its very important to lift weights and get a good cardio workout. The only problem is that without strength in your ankles and feet you become vulnerable to injury and pain.

A 120 pound person walking one mile exerts greater than 125,000 pounds on each foot.Imagine your muscles as a rubber band.Put a rubber band in the fridge and then try to stretch it. Its snaps! This image can be applied to your muscles. Simple exercises before your workout and stretches after your workout can lessen pain and  prevent injuries. Do these exercises and stretches and your feet will love you for it.

Foot Exercises:

  • Toe Pick Ups: Place a pile of objects in front of you and use your toes only to pick them up and place them in another pile. Do three sets per foot once a day if you are prone to foot cramps, hammertoes and for overall foot strength.
  • Water Bottle Roll: Place your water bottle on the floor on its side ( or use a small ball) and roll it under your foot for two minutes to give an instant massage. This exercise is perfect for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis, cramps or arch pain.
  • Toe Points: While standing, do toe points, toe curls and toe raises. Hold each position for ten seconds. This is a perfect way to sculpt your calf muscles and work out cramps.
  • Towel Stretch: Sit down, loop a towel around your foot and pull towards your body. Hold each foot like this for 15 seconds. This stretches your whole foot and calf muscle!

Foot Massage:
A foot massage not only releases the tension in your feet, but it can lead to healthier skin due to the increased blood circulation.The first step is to slather plenty of emollient- enriched or vitamin E cream to hydrate the skin and allow your hands to move smoothly.

  • Warm up: Start by stimulating circulation by slowly stroking with your thumb moving from the tips of your toes down to the heel and up to your ankle. Go back up towards your toes and repeat this motion until your foot feels warmed up!
  • Loosen your ankle: Hold the heel in your hand and with the other hand slowly turn your ankle clockwise and counter-clockwise three to five times.
  • Calf stretch: Stand arms length away from a wall, lean forward with both feet together. Have your nose almost touching the wall. Relax and then do this exercise three more times.This stretch is good if you are prone to shin splints.
  • Toe stretch: Hold your foot at the arch.With the other hand, slowly pull on each toe up the sides, with your thumb and index fingers. Repeat this with each toe.
  • Arch massage: Hold the heel in one hand. With the other hand,slide the heel of your hand along the arch from the ball towards the ankle and back up the sole.
  • Cool down: repeat the warm up technique. Remove all excess lotion from between the toes to prevent athletes foot with soap and water and then feel the difference in your feet!

Have a Happy Feet Day!

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