Monday, October 12, 2015

12 exercises for strengthening our feet, posture, stability and movement

Our feet are our connection to the ground, and the base of our posture and movement. There are 26 bones, 36 joints and lots of muscles and tendons in them. Our feet must be both flexible and strong in order to stabilize us and enable us to live active lives.
As we  grow old our feet and ankles are weakening, and in our modern world where they are usually wrapped-up in shoes, their flexibility is constantly at risk, leading to the fact that we are not very stable in some of the activities. We must also remember that our feet and posture also affect our knees and pelvis, as part of the lower body movement chain.

In different cultures the feet represent the body as a whole, and healthy feet are like a mirror to the healthy body.Many illnesses first affect our feet.

Good posture - both in movement and static - enables us to be confident in our daily activities.
Since most people don't really know how to strengthen their feet and toes, we decided to share with you some easy and joyful exercises that are important at any age, from 2 yo to a 120 :)

1. Standing on the tip of your toes, and than on your ankles. If you cannot hold yourself straight at the beginning - use something to lean on or hold hands with the person next to you.

2. Stand on only one foot for several seconds, while the other is held in the air, and then change feet. 
Add some jumping on one foot. You can also stand on one foot and stretch the other one backwards or forward.

3.Stand on your 6 or your 4 - on the edge of your fingers and toes - shift the weight of your back from fingers to nails and vice versa, forwards and backwards.Repeat this several times.
Attention: at first this might be difficult, so only perform it with 2-3 repetitions,and slowly raise their number.
*Little kids use tire fast after several repetitions, and then they like to hide underneath us or climb on us.

4. Spread your toes as much as possible, and then tighten them as much as possible. It might feel weird at first or even might hurt a bit, but the improvement is fast and very enjoyable.
Twist the ankle joint both ways, pose in flex and point.

5.Spread your feet to the sides - as wide as you can without any exterior force, and remain in this position for 5-10 seconds.
Close your feet one above the other, hold for several seconds, and switch sides.
Place parts of your feet on the opposite ankle, and perform a "mini-massage" of the ankle/feet-arch to the feet's side.

6.Open and widen the space between your toes - it really opens up the movement and breathing space of the joints.

7. Flex your feet - forward, backwards, to the sides - very gently and while listening to what your body tells you it can do, and the movement range of the feet. smaller children might need some assistance.
*For flexibility from your age and massaging toddlers - please see the book "Loving Hands: The Traditional Art of Baby Massage" by Frederil Leboyer.

8. Stand on "Spaghetti" or a broom's-stick and shift your weight back and forth.

9."Spaghetti" walking  - requires work from the stabilizing muscles. You can also walk on any other wall. (For more examples please check our post about balance).

10. Spread different objects on the grass/floor/sand and collect them using only your toes, slip them on your feet, pick them up in collaboration with your partner/child/friend - only with your feet, no hands. 
You can pile all the objects you have raised to one big pile, or you can each have your own pile.
Suggested objects for this exercise: small hoops, pencils and pens, cotton balls, wrinkled papers etc.
It might be hard at first - do not despair!

11.Side position - lean on your hand/forearm - raise your upper leg up. This also works on you back muscles and abs.
Kids really love this one.
Attention - perform very little repetitions.  If you feel pain in your lower back - stop and do not force your body.

12. Try to walk barefoot as much as possible - at home, on the sand at the beach, on the grass in the park.

Health & Joy !

All the responsibility is on the parent and/ or educator
All the posts and materials belongs to togi let's play, and the writer ©

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