Build Yourself from the Ground Up
Your feet take a pounding day in and day out. Should something go awry and your feet become injured, you’re going to find it nearly impossible to walk fluidly. Each step will send an intense wave of pain throughout your entire body. Keeping your feet healthy, limber and strong can help you avoid the mass majority of problems associated with the feet, including sprains and plantar fasciitis. Whether you’re an athlete or just an average Joe, you should definitely take steps to strengthen your feet. Using the tips below will allow you to do just that.
Why Do Strong Feet Really Matter?
As a runner, walker, or gym rat, you probably pay close attention to your legs, arm, and back. In fact, you probably have specialized routines to strengthen each part of the body, but what are you really doing about the foundation that holds you up, and gives you the ability to accomplish these exercises? This is referring to the ankle, foot, and sole. Probably nothing, in fact, most individuals do not even consider the bottom of their feet to be important, but that would be a huge mistake. Below, you will learn why strengthening your feet are one of the most important things you could be doing to improve the overall performance of your body.
The real truth of the matter is that you cannot afford to neglect your feet. The health of your feet truly can dictate your walking, running, and standing abilities. In fact, your feet are part of a system that stabilizes your entire body and muscle soreness can stem from weak feet muscles or improper posture. You have to train and strengthen your feet so that they can provide you will efficient stabilization that will balance your entire body with ease.
Many people fail to give their feet the much-needed attention they deserve. Your feet take a beating every time you take a step, jump, or squat. If you are one of those people who tend to neglect your feet, you will regret it later on down the road. Over the years, you will notice your feet becoming more and more weak and inflexible, which will complicate your posture, stance, and balance.
To improve your flexibility, you need to commit to a specific exercise routine. If you’ve been neglecting your feet like millions of other people you should expect tenderness since you are targeting the 19 intrinsic muscles in your feet. After a few days, the soreness will disappear and you will begin to notice a major transformation in your flexibility.
There’s nothing better than walking bare feet, training bare feet, but if you don’t have the luxury to do so, or even if you do have the luxury to do so and want to invest additional time into your feet—after all, they deserve it—then try the following.
Picking Up Marbles
Picking up marbles with your toes is a great way to strengthen your toes and feet. This is typically an easy exercise to accomplish, but if the muscles in your feet are weak, it will appear impossible. It may take a bit of practice if you are dealing with feet that have been neglected for years. Just continue practicing until you get the exercises down pat.
Spread out a few marbles on the ground and place a box nearby. Take your foot and try to pick up the marble with your toes. Once you accomplish this task, you will simply put the marble in the box and repeat the exercise with the opposite foot. You should repeat the exercise about four to five times for the first week and then gradually increase the repetitions to 10.
Strengthening The Feet Daily
Achieving maximum foot strengthen requires determination, dedication and persistence. However, you should realize that there are numerous ways to achieve your goal and some techniques are much more convenient than you could ever imagine. In fact, you should consider taking off your shoes more frequently. Walking around on your bare feet can prove to be enormously beneficial. Walking barefoot on anything and everything can be helpful. For instance, walking on stones can help to lower blood pressure, stimulate the reflex points in the foot, and improve your overall fitness.
Most importantly, walking with no shoes will force your feet to become stronger! In return, this will greatly decrease your chances of suffering from plantar fasciitis and other intense foot problems. The added benefit is mental and visual stimulation, the need to scan where you stepping, thinking quickly and mentally asses your path.
The Toe Tug
The Toe Tug might sound frightening, but it can be an excellent exercise for building stronger feet. In order to get started, you’re going to need access to a sturdy object, such as a bedpost. Position yourself directly in front of the object with your feet pointing forward. Grab an exercise band and loop one end around the object and the other end around the top portion of the foot. Bring your toes towards your body, while keeping your legs as straight as possible. Flex the ankles as much as possible.
Perform this exercise in sets of twenty for each leg. The exercise will strengthen the muscles in the feet, while simultaneously making your ankles much stronger. In return, you’ll be much less likely to experience foot pain and stiffness.
Performing The Bent-Knee Wall Stretch
Before performing a strenuous exercise, such as running on the treadmill, it is pertinent to stretch the muscles in your legs. Unfortunately, a lot of athletes forget the soleus. The bent-knee wall stretch can be perfect for this purpose. It’ll help you stretch the muscles in your legs, while simultaneously strengthening your ankles and feet!
- Fixmywalk.com – Best Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis Reviewed and Compared
- Livestrong.com – Are There Health Benefits of Walking Barefoot on Stones?
I can also highly recommend Vibram Five Finger shoes, in the following video you can see me wear them on an 11-hour hike with nothing but rocks and pebbles, unstable terrain all the way, after the hike I had no problems with my ankles, knees, or anything else other some muscle soreness in the glutes and quads.
Come and join our Facebook discussion group and ask your questions about feet and training https://www.facebook.com/groups/unconventional.training/