Soothing Foot Exercises

Six moves to relieve and destress your tootsies.
Images loading...

Workout Summary

Time it takes: 10 minutes How often: Three times a week Feel results in: Minutes. you’ll begin to notice a difference in your feet immediately. Within a week, your whole body should feel more relaxed. Equipment needed: A hand towel, one thick rubber band (the kind used to tie broccoli) and a two-centimeter ball; the band and the ball are available at Melt Method. A paddleball or a Superball will also work.
Photo by Ed Gohlich

Shearing

What it does: Stimulates the fluids in the foot’s connective tissue. Part A: Standing with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and a ball next to your left foot, lift your left foot slightly. Using that foot, roll the ball until it’s positioned underneath the middle of the foot, between your toes and your heel. Part B: Lower your heel a little and let your toes hang over the ball. Shift some of your weight onto your left foot. The pressure should be noticeable but not painful. Slowly curl in toes while breathing in and out once. Extend the toes for a breath. Do four reps. Switch feet. Repeat.
Illustration by Matthew Woodson

Horizontal Melting

What it does: Stretches the footpad. Part A: Standing with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, place a ball next to your left foot and lift your left foot slightly. Using that foot, roll the ball until it’s positioned under the mound, beneath the big toe’s large knuckle joint. Part B: Breathe in. Exhale, and allow the ball to sink into your foot. In a continuous motion, move your footpad over the ball until the ball reaches the mount under the little toe. (You will see the knuckle of each toe rise as the ball moves.) Release the pressure, and return the ball to the big toe’s mound. Repeat three times. Switch feet and repeat.
Illustration by Matthew Woodson

Vertical Melting

What it does: Stretches the inner and outer arches. Part A: Standing with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and a ball next to your left foot, lift your left foot slightly. Using that foot, roll the ball until it’s positioned underneath your tow mound, directly beneath the knuckle of the big toe. Part B: Breathe in. As you exhale, gently compress the ball with some of your weight as you roll the ball with some of your weight as you roll the ball to the heel, pressing it into the foot as you go. Lift your foot, position the ball under the second-biggest toe mound, and repeat. Continue until you’ve worked with each toe, then repeat with other foot.
Illustration by Matthew Woodson

Arch Strengthener

What it does: Strengthens the footpad, the inner and outer arches, and the muscles that control foot motion; increases stability and balance. Part A: Sitting on a chair, place both feet on the floor, hip-width apart, and spread a hand towel between your feet. (This works best on a hardwood floor.) Sit up straight, with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle and your hips aligned with your knees. Lift your right foot, and place it on top of the towel. Part B: Keeping your heel on the floor, contract the toes to gather the towel and move it toward the heel. Use your little toe as much as you use your big toe. Repeat 10 times slowly. Repeat using other foot.
Illustration by Matthew Woodson

Bunion Soother

What it does: Helps release tense big-toe muscles; improves blood flow to the bunion area; reduces pain caused by calcium deposits in existing bunions; helps prevent new bunions from forming. Part A: Hold a ball and a thick rubber band in your hands. Sit on a chair and place both feet flat on the floor. Bring your big toes together, and use your hands to wrap the rubber band around them. Place the ball on the floor, between your big-toe knuckles. Slowly draw your heels together to create tension in the rubber band. Part B: Without moving your other toes, lift the big toes. Modification: If you can’t keep the other toes on the floor, lean over and use your hands to hold them down. Once the big toes are lifted, remove your hands and try to keep the other toes down. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 20 times.
Illustration by Matthew Woodson

Basic Foot Challenge

What it does: Strengthens inner arch; promotes balance. Part A: Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet hip-width apart and your soles flat on the floor. Align your feet with your hips so that the third toes and the center of the heel are in line with sit bones. The space between your big toes should be slightly narrower than the space between your heels. Part B: Keeping the soles of your feet on the floor, slowly open your knees as wide as you can without lifting the heels or the balls of the feet. As you hold this position, try to feel the inner arch lifting as your knees move away from each other. Bring knees back together. Do 10 repetitions. UP NEXT: The Anti-Stress workout, click here.
Illustration by Matthew Woodson

First Published Tue, 2010-03-16 12:55

Find this story at:

http://www.more.com/health/fitness/soothing-foot-exercises