It doesn’t matter if you’re young, or old, healthy feet are needed at every age!Before we can walk, we have to crawl… The development of adequate core, hip, and leg strength is a part of the equation to help us get UP on our feet when we begin exploring what it’s like to stand and walk on two legs. As we age…it’s a funny thing, when our feet hurt – whether from injury, accident, wearing poor shoes, lack of proper strength or flexibility we are faced not only with needing to take better care of our feet, but also will be well-served by re-evaluating our exercise and daily life habits and determine what’s lacking for balanced-muscle development so we can maintain our healthy feet. Shifting our weight to avoid walking on a sore toe, shortening our stride to limit foot action from plantar fasciitis, the joint misalignment, and resulting lack of muscle use that can be created by bunions and hammer toes, standing on your dominant leg to take the pressure off a sprained ankle or bum knee… In the moment none of these compensation patterns seem like a big deal, but cumulatively over time, they can set us up for repetitive strain injuries, more pain, and new problems. How often have you seen toddlers taking off their shoes to go barefoot? I think it’s that need to “feel” the ground under the feet and experience different surfaces. And in the long run being barefoot, to crawl, stand, walk, hop, skip, jump and run can help develop the functional action of the intrinsic foot musculature. Develop healthy feet as a child, and you’re well on your way to staying active, fit and pain-free. And if you’re like me and you’ve had a plethora of foot problems… Sure a supportive shoe is “supportive.” And arch supports or orthotics can help improve the lift of your arches and alignment of the ankles, and sometimes we need a little extra support. But if as we grow, and age, we rely solely on shoes and EXTERNAL props to support us, how can we expect to maintain good posture, strong muscles, and develop healthy movement habits from the inside out? To maintain a healthy body from our head to our toes we need to use the muscles from our head to our toes! And most of the time folks focus on exercising their major muscle groups, but forget (or have never been educated) on the value of fine-tuning their form, or focusing on their feet. There are lots of simple Fantastic Feet exercises you can do to change how your feet feel, and valuable foot fitness resources to improve the strength, flexibility, and fitness of your ankles, arches, and toes! To improve posture and athletic performance, half of what you need to work on is AT the Feet. For maximum benefits for balance and body control it’s also valuable to work the other end of the leg and pay attention to your exercise and movement habits for form and function with the thighs, hips, and core. To enhance your foot-care program, activities that allow you to exercise barefoot (Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, Martial Arts, and Belly Dancing, just to name a few,) can be excellent activities to help maintain healthy feet. Don’t wait until your feet hurt to start wondering what you can do to help them feel better! A quick 5-10 minutes of targeted foot fitness training, even if it’s only two or three days a week, can help you maintain healthy feet. We’ve only got one pair of feet, treat them well, your feet have to last a lifetime! ******* Check out the book Fantastic Feet! Exercises to Strengthen the Ankles, Arches, and Toes, and all the other helpful Foot Fitness resources available at Centerworks®.
Aliesa George: Over the past three decades, Aliesa George has helped assist people with their personal health journeys by sharing, teaching, and developing Pilates, Foot Fitness, and other Mind-Body programs.
Posted by: Aliesa George
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