There’s cardio, there’s resistance training, and there’s yoga. There’s an exercise for every part of the body except for your feet. That’s kind of odd, considering that your tootsies have to bear the entire weight of your body, every day, all day.
Here are a few stretches and exercises that will keep your feet healthy and happy for whatever life throws at you.
1. Tennis Ball Arch Massage
This one feels amazing after a long day on the job, and its benefits travel way beyond your feet.
Start by sitting in a chair. Place your bare foot on a clean tennis ball and roll it around. You’ll feel the muscles relaxing almost instantly.
Even better, the massage will loosen muscles and tendons all the way up to your hips, resulting in more relaxed, flexible legs.
2. Tiptoe Training
Work out those foot muscles! Like most of the stretches and exercises on this list, this one is best accomplished barefoot.
Simply stand up on your tip toes. Hold that pose for 10 seconds, then gently relax back into a regular standing position. Repeat this exercise 10 times for a refreshing workout.
Tiptoe training will strengthen your feet, calves, and legs. It might even help with back pain by aligning your body in a natural stance.
3. Toe Curls
Sit on a chair and place your bare feet on a clean, dry towel. Make a “fist” with your toes, curling them as tightly around the towel as you can. Repeat 10 times.
Toe curls help to release tension in your feet, which can improve your overall balance. Fitness starts with the feet!
4. Simple Stretch for Toes
If you work on your feet, this one is a must after every long shift.
Take off your shoes and socks and lace your fingers through your toes. Gently but firmly pull your toes while you roll your ankle in small circles. Repeat with the other foot.
Not only will this simple toe stretch release any pent-up tension in your foot muscles, it can also strengthen your ankle joints. That will make standing through your next shift that much easier.
5. Arch Training
This is great for people with flat arches. Stand with your feet a few inches apart from on another. Then roll both feet so that your weight is focused on your big toe. Then, shift the weight to your littlest toe, lifting the big toe off the ground.
The exercise trains your feet to resume their natural arch, which makes walking more graceful, natural, and comfortable.
6. Standing Toe Stretch
Stand with your feet flat on the floor. Then lift only your toes, pointing them as high as you can. Hold the stretch for a few breaths.
You’ll feel this one travel all the way through your foot and into the sides of your calves. Repeat this exercise every day and you might notice your posture improving.
When you care for your feet, your whole body feels better. Incorporate these moves into your workout routine to keep your feet as fit as they can be.