If you read our article on why your feet need exercise, you’ll know that feet need to be kept strong and supple through exercise and massage. But unfortunately for our achy, immobile feet they – unlike a stiff mid-back – rarely receive much attention. So, to encourage you to start caring for them, we’ve put together 4 simple ways to strengthen your feet at home.
1. Strengthen your feet – Go barefoot
Feet stuck in rigid shoes all day become weak and unstable. So, one of the simplest things you can do to start strengthening your feet is to take your shoes off.
NB: This might not be advisable if you’re suffering with a foot condition like plantar fasciitis which requires you to protect the soles of your feet.
How to: If you’re used to being in shoes all day, chances are your feet might ache a bit when you start to go barefoot. Ease yourself in by spending short periods of time barefoot at first to build up your tolerance.
Signing up for Pilates classes is also helpful. Pilates is always performed barefoot, which makes attending them regularly a great way to ensure you spend time shoeless.
2. Strengthen your feet – Calf raises
This exercise strengthens the tendons in your heels and calf muscles. These are the muscles which support your arch.
How to: Raise up on the balls of your feet then slowly lower down. Focus on controlling both aspects of the motion and not allowing the foot to roll inwards or outwards excessively.
Start with 3 sets of 10 reps. Progress this exercise by performing it with your heels hanging off a stair or block.
3. Strengthen your feet – Doming
This move works the arch muscles as well as most of the muscles on the underside of the foot. It also helps strengthen important muscles of the inner side of the foot.
How to: Start either seated or standing and with your feet flat on the floor. Next, tighten the muscles in the sole of your foot. Your arch should raise up but your toes should stay uncurled. Hold with the arch raised or “domed” and then relax. Release and repeat 10 times.
4. Strengthen your feet – Flex and point
This exercise is a great – and challenging – way to strengthen your toes, arches and ankles.
How to: Loop a resistance band over the end of your feet making sure to cover your toes.
Take the ends of a resistance band between both hands. Remember: the harder you pull the band the harder the exercise will be, so go easy to begin with. Start by flexing the toes towards you. Then, start to press into the band with the pads of your feet as you press the foot towards the ground against resistance. End the movement with your toes pointed towards the ground.
To return to the starting position, engage the muscles in the foot as you “dome” your arch again. End by extending your toes (again against the resistance of the band) up towards the ceiling.
5. Strengthen your feet – Massage your feet
Okay, so this one isn’t really about strengthening your feet. But massaging your feet regularly (along with foot-focused exercises) will help you in your quest for strong, mobile feet. It’s also a great way to relieve tension in this area after a long day at work – or a night in heels!
How to: Perform this exercise in a seated position as this will help you avoid bruising to the sensitive skin on the bottom of your feet.
From here, place a massage or tennis ball under the sole of one foot. Roll the ball up and down the sides and middle of it, varying the pressure to find what feels appropriate. Next, massage the soles of your feet in a circular motion.
Pause longer on points that feel tight or achy for a better release being careful not to press too hard.
Before participating in any exercise program that may be described and/or made accessible in or through our website, we strongly recommend that you consult with a physician or other healthcare provider.
This site offers health, fitness and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.