Top Tips to Loving Your Feet
We all need our feet to work well – in fact poor functioning feet often create injuries or strain further up the body in the knees, hips or spine. We ask a lot of our feet – for us to move well on our feet we need them to be both strong and supple.
I know you are thinking “How do I find the time to treat my feet?” Well, I have a few hacks and tips that are easy to fit in with your day-to-day life, and some of them just require making a small change to something you already do.
Below, you’ll find some of my top tips to better foot health.
1.Go barefoot whenever you can.
Going barefoot strengthens the muscles within your feet. Plus, if you learn to walk on a variety of surfaces and textures, you will wake up the sensory receptors in the sole of our foot.
2.Decrease (and then ditch) your heels.
When you can’t go barefoot, decrease, then completely ditch your heels (this includes shoes like runners and boots which often have a low heel). Wearing heeled shoes changes the mechanics of your whole body, and can lead to tight calves, hip flexors and lower back.
3.Wear shoes that allow your toes to wiggle and have a flexible sole.
Toes that can move and spread out will improve our balance and spread load through more of the foot. Shoes with a flexible sole will move and adapt with the terrain and the movement of our foot, making it stronger.
4.Vary the terrain you’re spending time on.
Humans have evolved moving on uneven ground and our foot should be able to adapt to different terrain – rocky, smooth, soft, hard. The next time you go for a walk, try adding texture by walking on grass, rocks, walk up down and across slopes and notice how your body responds. This will build strength in the smaller muscles of your feet as well as providing sensory information to your brain.
You could even make a ‘rock mat’ like the one below. I have one of these at my back door which means I walk on it multiple times every day.
5.Mobilise your feet.
Use a spiky ball, your hands, get someone to treat you to a foot rub whenever you can. Tip – walking on a rock mat gives your feet a little massage!
6.Strengthen your feet.
Add some specific foot strengthening exercises like toe lifts and towel scrunches, or even just wiggle your toes whenever you think of it (like right now!!). A set of toe spacers is also one of the easiest ways to improve toe and foot strength.
If you are after more ideas to keep your feet happy, I’ve filmed a short online class with some simple exercises you can try right now. You can access this class for free by clicking the button below.
And, if you would like to know more, join me for my upcoming workshop and mat class “From The Ground Up” on Sunday June 26th which is dedicated to mobilising, strengthening and building awareness of your feet.
This workshop is ideal for hikers, runners, skiers, those who are on their feet for long periods and is suitable for all abilities.