Our poor, wonderful feet. We take them for granted even as they literally keep us upright as we walk to the kitchen in the morning, walk around the house and take a stroll downtown, let alone run, dance and do burpees.
Yet many of us never think to stretch our feet before and after a workout as we do for the muscles in our arms and legs.
When we’re able to, we should take a few moments to loosen and strengthen our tibialis flexors, extensors and other foot muscle groups. This advice stands regardless of whether you’ve just worked out or are just going about your other daily business.
Doing this helps to reduce any pain that’s developing, improve your balance and help you stay active and on your feet.
Warm up by walking around for a few minutes before trying foot stretches like these. Ask your health care provider first if you currently have severe foot pain, diabetes or another condition affecting your feet.
1. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Pick one foot up and place it on your opposite thigh.
2. Grab your toes with one hand and pull them up toward your ankle until you feel a stretch along the bottom of your foot and in your heel cord.
3. Massage the arch of your foot with your other hand during the stretch. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times on each foot.
PICK UP BEADS
1. Find a selection of beads or marbles of different sizes and place them on the ground.
2. Sit in a chair and, while keeping your back straight, pick one up with your toes and place it in a container or pile. Do this 10 times with each foot.
1. Find some sand — for example, at a beach, desert, volleyball court or sandbox.
2. Take off your shoes and socks and walk to stretch and strengthen your feet.