According to double board-certified pediatrician Channel J. Perkins, DPM, feet are responsible for a chain reaction throughout your body. “The foot is known as a mobile adapter. It simply means that the foot has the necessary adjustments to absorb shock and adapt to terrain,” he says.
To keep you in balance as you move forward, the legs move in two basic ways: supination (when the weight moves to the outer leg) and pronation (where the weight moves to the inner leg). Both patterns are key to foot mobility and range of motion. “Our lives have been made easier by walking because it literally makes it possible for us to walk biomechanically, giving us freedom of movement,” explained Dr. Perkins. “If the legs have too little or too much mobility we face a number of challenges, so there has to be a balance.”
To keep your legs tip-top, Dr. Perkins recommends leg mobility exercises in your workout routine. At least A few days a week. However, if you feel pain in your legs while we are talking, it is best to consult a pediatrician. You may need a pair of orthotic insoles instead of a normal walking routine.
That said, we are ready to move the legs. (Then, in the new adventure.)
7 foot mobility exercises to add to your regular rotation
1. Roll the tennis ball
Grab a tennis ball and sit in a chair or next to your bed. Place your bare feet on the ball and slowly roll your feet over it. You can use your body weight to increase stress (as needed). “It’s a good idea to keep the ball on the side of the bed so you can do this massage before you get out of bed in the morning and before you go to bed at night,” said Dr. Perkins.
2. Tower Carl
Place a small towel on the floor and curl it towards you using only your toes. If this sounds easy, you can increase the resistance by placing a weight (like a heavy book) at the end of the towel. “The movement should be as if you’re almost lifting a towel with your toes,” said Dr. Perkins. “Relax and repeat this exercise five times.”
3. Marble pick up
Here’s a fun tip: place 20 marbles on the floor, and pick them up – one at a time – using only your toes and place each in a small bowl. Do this exercise until you pick up all 20 marbles.
4. Increase the heel
Get up on your toes and hold this position for five seconds. Repeat 10 times.
5. Stretch against the calf wall
Place the palms of your hands against a wall, one foot forward and one foot back. Keep the hind legs completely straight and bend the front legs slightly. Keep leaning against the wall until you feel the back of your calf stretched out. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, then change legs.
6. Raising a negative calf
Stand on a step with your heel from the edge, parallel to the floor below. Lift one foot up from the step and slowly lower the other heel down the step. Try to take at least 10 seconds to lower it. Repeat twice with each leg.
7. Speed Exercise Ankle Range
Start standing. Pull your legs up as you try to bring your toes closer to your shin. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds and repeat three times with each foot. You can also use a resistance band or towel wrapped around the ball of the foot and pull it with your hand while pushing your foot down and pointing your toes at the floor.
Stay tuned with Nike coach Tracy Copeland:
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