Archive for May, 2013

How fit are your feet?, by Laura Coombs, CSCS, NSCA, ATC

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Laura Coombs, personal trainer at Fitness Plus in Lexington, KYHow fit are your feet?, by Laura Coombs, CSCS, NSCA, ATC

 

The foot plays an important role as the foundation of our skeleton, both while we stand and while we ambulate.  Our posture, balance, power, and grace are all rooted in our feet.   Without foundation rigidity, we wobble.  Without foundation suppleness, we teeter and tilt.   Are your feet ready for this job?

The foot is made of 26 bones and 20 muscles.    This great number of moveable structures implies that our foot is meant to move!!  So why do we lace it into in a restrictive shoe all day?   Obviously our feet need protection from the elements and from debris, but most of us are deconditioning our feet by limiting their function in tight clunky shoes.    If you have certain conditions and have been advised by a doctor to wear a specific type of shoe, the following recommendations are not for you.  But if you’re ready to make your feet fit AND functional, try these tips:

 

1)      Take your shoes and socks off when you walk around inside your house!  Allow the bones and muscles to absorb the shock of your gait.  This trains them to spring back against the impact and can help build a healthy arch.

2)      Barefooted, try standing on one foot while you wash the dishes or brush your teeth.   Let the tiny joints in your feet react to the instability, thus keeping them mobile.

3)      Sit down and wiggle your toes…all TEN!  Can they move independently?  Use all the muscles in your feet!

4)      Interlace your fingers with your toes.  Squeeze your fingers with your toes, now squeeze your toes with your fingers.  Repeat 5 times.  Feel the burn?

5)      Put a basket of pencils near your couch.  Practice picking them up one by one while you read or watch TV.

6)      Grab a print out of the sign language alphabet and see if you can spell your name with your foot.  Fun!

A strong, mobile foot can improve how your foundation feels as well as how it supports the rest of your body.  Try these exercises and I’ll bet  your knees, hips, and low back feel better too!