It is all too often that we forget about our feet. Our feet work so hard every day to help us in our daily routine and in our active activities. I like to remind myself and my clients that support begins at the bottom; meaning, be conscious of what your feet are doing. Let’s create two new habits this New Year.
1. Give your feet the royal treatment.
One thing that most people don’t realize is how important the mobility, flexibility and stability of the foot and ankle affect the whole body – especially the knees, hips and back. Having tight or unstable feet puts undue stress and strain on all of the joints and connective tissue throughout the whole support “chain”. Mobilizing the foot and ankle will often times help relieve knee, hip and back pain as well as improve your mobility in squatting, swings and snatching.
Take your shoes off and give your feet a break! There are many ways to mobilize and increase range of motion. Spend time rolling underneath your foot on a lacrosse ball. After your workout, leave the weight on the barbell and roll out your calves. Move your ankle in multiple directions throughout the day; small circles, in and out, etc.
2. With every movement, especially in the gym, remember to work from the ground up.
Most people get caught up in the movement of the exercise and forget about the importance of proper foot placement. Understanding that our feet are the foundation for all of the body parts above will help to create overall balance and proper spinal alignment, making each exercise that much more effective. Take an extra second before you lift to feel the ground under your feet and create stability.
Stay grounded in 2014 by taking care of your feet. As much as we rely on our feet to get us around every day, we sure do abuse them! Cramming them into tight and restrictive shoes and pounding them relentlessly on hard pavement. Take the extra step to take care of yourself by taking care of your feet.