Last week we discussed the benefits of barefoot exercise. This week we look at easy barefoot exercises you can do to help keep your feet in tip-top condition.
Why not try the following exercises every day for better, beautiful bare feet!
The first set can be done sitting on the floor with legs straight out in front of you or sitting in a chair at work or home. You can also do these when on a long flight to keep the circulation in your legs flowing.
- Point your toes down to the floor, then bring them up towards your body, stretching the back of the heels. Move as far as possible in each direction, holding each position for a few seconds. Up and down at least 10 times.
- Describe a circle with your feet making the circle as large as possible. Circle first one way then the other at least 10 times in each direction
- With the weight of your feet on the heels, draw your toes up towards you. Spread them out as far as possible then squeeze them back together. At least 10 times
- Place your heels close to your hips (or tuck them under your chair). Keeping your heels and toes in contact with the floor, draw the heels towards the toes (this makes your toes curl under) flatten the toes out and repeat. Your feet will travel forward. When you have gone as far as you can, repeat the process bringing them back. This strengthens the transverse arches in your feet.
- In the same position, keeping the outer edge of your feet on the floor see if you can draw your big toe towards your heel while keeping your toes flat. This lifts and strengthens the longitudinal arches in your feet. At least 10 times
Do the following exercises when standing. You may want to hold on to the wall or a chair for support at first, but it’s better if you can manage to balance without!
- Feet together, bend your knees keeping your heels on the floor, straighten the knees then rise on to the balls of your feet. At least 10 times.
- Feet together, bend your knees keeping your heels on the floor; now keeping your knees bent, lift on to the balls of your feet; straighten your knees (you are still up on your toes!); lower your heels to the floor. 10 times. Reverse the process by rising on to the toes; bend your knees keeping the heels lifted off the floor; lower the heels to the floor (knees are still bent!); straighten your knees. 10 times
- Lift your right heel up so that your weight is on the ball of your foot; do the same with the left foot as you lower the heel of your right foot. Repeat on each foot in a smooth, continuous sort of ‘cycling’ movement. Pull up on to the ball of each foot as high as you can each time. At least 20 times
- Feet together, turn your toes in towards each other (heels will go out). Bring your right heel towards your left heel at the same time as turning the left toes out (so your heels are now together and toes apart). Left heel moves left, as toes of right foot move left (toes are now together, heels apart) – have you got it? 10 times moving to the left, 10 times coming back to the right. Keep the movement as smooth as possible – if you can sort it out!
- Stand on a step or the bottom stair with your heels hanging over the edge of the step. Lower your heels as far as possible, stretching the back of your ankles, lift on to the balls of your feet before lowering again. At least 10 times.
Above all, walk barefoot wherever you can – be aware of the movement through the whole of your foot from the moment you put your weight on your heel to the push-off from the toes and enjoy!
Barefoot exercises will keep your feet in tip-top condition. Look after them, they will look after you.