Our poor feet. They already take on a lot of stress daily from supporting our body’s weight, and when we exercise, that stress can be increased up to 20 times. Not caring for your feet before, during and after workouts can lead to foot issues, such as calluses, blisters and corns, as well as lower-back and knee pain.
Don’t let frustrating foot pain or an injury prevent you from reaching your fitness goals. Keeping your feet muscles in shape helps ensure correct foot mechanics are being used during workouts, including maintaining stabilized ankles and a proper gait.
Is there a way to get fitter feet? There sure is. Just follow the tips and exercises below.
Fun foot facts
- 25 percent of the body’s total muscles comes just from our feet.
- 75 percent of Americans will experience a foot problem during their lifetime.
- A 2.5-inch high heel can increase the weight on the ball of your feet by 75 percent — and nowadays, that’s considered a low heel.
- 9 out of 10 women are wearing shoes that are too small.
- An average woman will walk three more miles per day than an average male.
- When running, the pressure on your feet may be four times as much as your body weight.
Incorporating a few foot-strengthening exercises can help to alleviate tightness in your calves and aching knees. The following exercises can be done easily at home:
- Standing up, lift heels so you are standing on the balls of your feet with toes stretched apart.
- Stay up 10 seconds, then lower heels.
- Repeat 5 to 10 times.
This is a good exercise after feet have been cramped up in shoes all day.
Toe Flexor Stretches
- Sitting barefoot, rest your left ankle on your right thigh.
- Grab toes, bending them back toward the shin.
- Hold for 5 seconds, release and repeat several times.
- Switch to right foot and repeat.
This exercise will stretch the connecting tissue from your heel to the ball of your foot.
- Using a tennis or golf ball, apply pressure lightly to the bottom of the foot, rolling the ball for two minutes.
- Repeat on the other foot.
Do this exercise to help alleviate foot cramps and heel or arch pain.
Tips for fit feet
- Invest in well-fitting workout shoes.
- Wear socks with cushioning on the sole in microfiber fabric to keep moisture away.
- Post workout, soak feet in warm water with a mild soap.
- Use a pumice stone and/or foot file often to keep skin soft and smooth.
- Spritz on bacteria-fighting foot spray after showering in a gym to kill any foot fungus.
- Moisturize feet only before you go to bed. If you use moisturizer during the day, shoes may slip around, causing irritation.
Post-workout foot scrub and soak
Mix together the following:
Mix together the following in a footbath or bowl big enough for both feet:
Let feet soak at least 15 minutes. Dry feet completely and follow up with a high-quality foot cream.