Stretches for Healthier Feet

Besides being extremely relaxing, research has demonstrated the positive effect on preventing muscular injuries and also in injury treatment. Stretching helps promote blood circulation to the muscles, ‘warming’ them up for exercise so that they are not too stiff.

Stretching should always be relaxing with your breathing slow, rhythmical and under control. Do not hold your breath while stretching. If a stretch position inhibits your natural breathing pattern, then you are obviously not relaxed. Just ease up on the stretch so you can breathe naturally.

Depending on the reason for stretching you should never rush stretching exercises as they are important in preparing your body for exercises and improving flexibility.

If you do not stretch properly there is a greater chance of experiencing tight and sore muscles, and even a muscular injury. Always make sure when stretching that you allow at least 30 seconds for each stretching exercise.

Here are some stretches that are great for your feet:

rear-calf

Rear Calf Stretch


Stand as shown, with your back leg straight and heel down. Move you hips forward until you feel a stretch in your calf.

Hold position 30 seconds, DO NOT bounce.

Change Sides after you are done.

front-calf

Front Calf Muscle stretch


Stand on a step near the bottom of your stairs. Put your weight on the ball of one foot and slowly lower that heel until you feel your calf muscle stretching. If you need to hold onto something such as a rail for balance this is acceptable.

Hold position 30 seconds, DO NOT bounce.

quadriceps

Standing Quadriceps Stretch


To do this exercise while standing, simply grab hold of a stationary object for balance with one hand and use the opposite hand to grasp the leg around the ankle, lifting it toward your buttocks. Keep your back straight and not allow the knee to drift forward ahead of the stance leg.

Hold position 30 seconds, DO NOT bounce.

Change Sides after you are done.

toe-curls

Toe Curls with Towel


To strengthen arch muscles, place a towel on the floor, grab the towel with your toes and pull it towards you.

Stretch one foot at a time.

Change Sides after you are done.

toe-extension

Toe Extension


While sitting, grasp your toes and gently pull them towards you until you feel a stretch in the arch of your foot.

Hold position 30 seconds.

Change Sides after you are done.

hamstring

Standing Hamstring Stretch


Start by putting your foot on a waist-high stationary object and slowly leaning forward, reaching down the shin until they feel a stretch in the hamstring.

Hold position 30 seconds.

Change Sides after you are done.

hip-flexor

Hip Flexor Stretch


Kneel on both knees, step forward with your right foot while keeping your left knee on the floor. Put your hands on top of your right thigh. Slide your back leg behind until you feel the stretch in the front of the hip. To intensify the leg stretches, push your hip forward, straighten your body, and put your hands on your front knee.

Hold position 30 seconds.

Change Sides after you are done.

Beach Walking


Walking on the sand in multi-directional patterns (i.e. backwards, forwards and sideways—crab walk) can help improve mobility, strength, coordination and activates multiple muscle groups not always utilised. Walking on the sand also helps avoid the jarring impact on the body and helps reduce any tension in the muscles. Stretching on the beach is also beneficial and encouraged.