Our poor old tootsies take a daily bashing. We walk more than 115,000 miles in a lifetime, with every step exerting pressure of up to three times our body weight on our feet.
We’re also not always kind to them with our choice of footwear – most of us have worn high heels, tight court shoes and flimsy ballet pumps in the past, and as a result, 30% of Brits suffer from bunions and foot injuries.
However, there are things we can do to look after our feet. Try these daily Toega (yep, that’s yoga for your toes) exercises for five minutes twice a day to improve mobility, flexibility and strength…
Barefoot is best
Most shoes restrict the feet’s hundreds of tiny muscles, tendons and ligaments, meaning they end up weaker over time. 90% of us wear shoes that are too small, meaning feet aren’t given the chance to flex and splay, and can end up painfully misaligned.
Free your feet by going barefoot as often as you can, or try barefoot-style shoes like Vivobarefoot, from £50, for a portion of the week to give your tootsies the breathing space they need.
Try to hold each pose for 15-30 seconds as you build up strength, but if it hurts, stop.
Push the big toe down into the floor and raise the other four toes off the floor, aiming for small pulses of the movement. Keep the ball of the foot in contact with the ground at all times. As you improve, aim to hold the toes off the floor while pushing down the big toe for up to 30 seconds.
Bend the big toe underneath the foot – using your hands to assist if necessary. This can be a bit uncomfortable to start with, so use a soft surface when doing this exercise. When viewed from above, it should appear as though the big toe has been chopped off.
Bend the four smaller toes underneath the foot, leaving the big toe pointing forwards. In this position, root the big toe into the floor to improve strength in this position. The bending of the toes can be uncomfortable, so it’s important to use a soft surface when doing this exercise. Again, when viewed from above, it should appear as though the smaller toes have been chopped off.
Keeping the toes facing forwards, sit back on the heels, allowing the toes (and soles of the feet) to stretch. Once in a relaxed position, push the big toes into the floor repeatedly in a pulsing movement, allowing the body to gently rock back and forth.
In the same position as the Heel-Sit, place your hands on your heels and slowly extend the hip and spine as you straighten your arms. Once in this fully extended position, pulse the big toes as
before, rocking the body back and forth.
Sit on the heels once more, except this time, flex the ankle allowing the toes to face behind you – this time you will feel the stretch on the front of the foot.
To learn more, go to Vivobarefoot.com to book in for a free coaching session with one of Vivobarefoot’s experts and learn how to rehab your feet
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