For many people making New Year’s resolutions is a common tradition. Research shows that about 60 percent of people admit that they make New Year’s resolutions but only about eight percent of are successful in achieving them. Over half of persons fail their resolution before January 31. Women tend to make health-focused resolutions while men pledge to find a new job and lay off the alcohol. Usually the top three resolutions are to diet or eat healthier, exercise more and to lose weight.
Movement and exercise are a critical part of achieving health and wellness. Having fit and healthy feet are needed and can help you achieve your health and wellness goals. One way is to make sure your feet are fit first, it makes it a lot easier to get the rest of the body moving. If you don’t exercise your feet on a regular basis, they will be stiff, less resistant to injury and won’t be as strong and flexible as they should be, ready for everyday activity.
Exercise is good for the entire body including the feet. A foot exercise program will help you return to daily activities faster after an injury or illness, and enjoy a more active, healthy lifestyle. A general fit foot exercise program will provide a wide range of exercises that can help strengthen the foot and ankle. These exercises can also improve your performance in sports and prevent injury while performing sports or exercise.
For some, going barefoot can be a natural workout for the muscles and joints in your feet, especially if you walk on the sand or in the sea. The fine grains will help massage the feet and can help exfoliate rough skin and calluses. Persons with diabetes should never go barefoot, indoors or outside. People with flat feet and heel pain symptoms should also avoid barefoot walking because this will cause these conditions to get worse.
Before starting any exercise program, it is best to see your podiatrist or physical therapist to ensure that the program is safe and targets the affected part of the foot. The following are foot exercises to make sure your feet are fit and ready to start your exercise program on your journey to health and wellness this year – toe stretches, toe squeezes, toe pulls, big toe pulls, towel curls, marble pickup, golf ball rolls, and alphabet foot rolls.
Toe stretches: Raise your heels, keeping just balls of feet and toes on the floor, and hold five seconds, then curl your toes under, holding five seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Toe squeezes: Place small corks between your toes. Squeeze and hold for five seconds. Release; do this 10 times.
Toe pulls: Put a thick rubber band around all five toes and spread them. Hold five seconds. Relax. Repeat 10 times. The resistance provided by the rubber band will help strengthen the toes. Fit feet will follow.
Big toe pulls: Starting with feet slightly apart, place a thick rubber band around both big toes and pull the toes in opposite directions, toward the smaller toes on the same foot. Hold for five seconds. Relax; repeat 10 times.
Towel curls: Place a small towel on the floor and use your toes to curl it towards you. To increase the resistance, put a weight on the end of the towel. Relax. Repeat five times with each foot.
Marble pickup: Place 20 marbles on the floor. Using your toes, pick up one marble at a time and put in a small bowl. Pick up all 20 marbles with your feet. Then repeat on the other foot. In addition to helping the toes, this will also help relieve pain in the ball of the foot caused by high arches or wearing too-tight shoes.
Golf ball rolls: To massage your feet and relieve arch strain or foot cramps, roll a golf ball under the ball of your foot for two minutes. Do this with both feet – fit feet will follow.
Alphabet foot rolls: To stretch, strengthen and increase flexibility in your ankles and feet, sit with legs crossed at knees and, using the foot of the crossed leg, “draw” each letter of the alphabet with the other foot.
If you do all of these exercises a couple times a week, your feet will be very thankful, and you will have fit feet in no time. If there is any pain while doing the foot exercises or when you start your exercise program, stop the exercises and see the podiatrist for an evaluation.
• For more information or to see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates Centre, Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.apma.org.