Your feet are strong structures. They travel tens of thousands of miles in your lifetime, all while holding you upright and supporting your entire bodyweight. If you want to do more than just stand and walk around, your feet most definitely have to be fit. After all, the force of you pushing off the ground to run or jump, not to mention the shock of your landing, is several times greater than what you weigh. Fitness and your foot health go hand-in-hand.
How Foot Strength Affects Fitness
Your feet function as your body’s foundation. Buildings need a solid foundation that can support their weight to stay upright. The same principle is true for your body. Your feet have to be strong enough to support the weight, pressure, and impact of your activities. When they are not, they are prone to overuse injuries and pain. You may have trouble balancing or repeatedly executing certain motions. You might develop problems in your knees, hips, or back. Essentially, you aren’t able to participate in your activities to the best of your ability.
Strong feet, on the other hand, provide a strong foundation and base for your body. They’re able to not only keep up with your activities without being overused, but also contribute to your success. This is ideal for your fitness. It doesn’t just happen, either. You have to get your feet to this position.
Why Conditioning Matters
Conditioning is a key part of improving fitness and your foot health. Conditioning allows your body to adjust and build up strength and power over time to handle your activities. It involves exercises and activities that gently challenge the feet to build up strength and balance. It’s one of the most important steps for preventing overuse, too. Pushing yourself too hard too quickly can strain your lower limbs past what they’re able to support and cause significant pain. By conditioning your feet, you build up their fitness over time and their ability to handle progressively more stress.
Exercises for More Fit Feet
The easiest way to condition your lower limbs and build up their fitness is through basic exercises. Dr. Brandon S. Percival, Dr. Julie A. Percival, and Dr. William Harris can work with you to make sure you have the right support you’ll need for your activities and tailor any exercises for your sports. Here are a few common exercises that might help your lower limbs:
- Toe lifts – Put your feet flat on the floor. Try to lift each toe off the floor in turn while leaving the others flat.
- Toe spreads – With your feet flat on the floor, spread your toes as wide apart as you can and hold them there for a few seconds before relaxing. To make it more challenging, loop a rubber band around your toes before spreading them.
- Marble pick-up – Using just your bare toes, pick up marbles or small stones from the ground and put them into a cup or bowl.
- Ankle circles – Rotate your foot in counterclockwise and clockwise circles at the ankle.
- Heel and toe walking – Walk across a room balancing on your heels, so your toes don’t touch the ground. Then walk back on your toes, so your heels don’t touch the ground.
The more you invest in your foot health and strength, the better it is for your activities and health overall. You need a strong foundation to build up your fitness. If you’re struggling at all with your fitness in general, increasing your work outs, or even pain in your feet when you’re active, let us know at Carolina Podiatry Group. You can reach us for a consultation through our website, or by calling one of our offices: (803) 285-1411 for Lancaster, or (803) 548-FEET for Fort Mill.