Foot And Lower Leg Strength
Get the benefits of strength exercises without the weights, and without taking a lot of time out of your day.
You know that your muscles are an important part of your overall health. And your legs and feet are literally what carry you through the day. That means that of course they get the star treatment when it comes to your workout and stretch routine, right? I bet at least some of you can say that you do not even think about stretching your feet. And your legs, maybe you will walk off some of the soreness from your last workout or stay in the shower for a few extra minutes to work it out, but that is as far as your “muscle care” goes. So how can you build up muscle in those areas without dedicating extra time to your workouts? Why not try a few stretches for foot strength.
When you work and tone the muscles of your lower legs, it creates a chain “reaction” in the rest of your body. If those muscles are in shape, the rest of your body does not have to work as hard. Your legs and feet are then better able to assist in both “everyday” and “special” tasks. Everyday tasks like walking around the office all day or keeping up with your house cleaning. Special tasks are more like running a 5K, rigorous exercising, or training for a triathlon. Not only are your healthy muscles helping to keep your body’s use of energy more efficient, but they also work to ensure that your bones do not take on as much of the “rough and tumble” from your usual activities. A good analogy is how the fat pad in you heel works as a cushion to protect the bone in your heel from taking impact while you walk. It allows a certain amount of “bounce-back” and shock absorption. Your muscles and tendons can do similar work with the rest of your body by allowing stretch and tension, as needed, which ensures that your bones do not over extend or misalign over time. Many physicians and personal trainers suggest strength training and stretches to correct posture and alignment issues.
So coming back to the legs and feet specifically: Calf stretches are a vital part of treating a large range of foot and ankle issues. Tightness in the calf or shins can affect the way your foot moves, your balance, and the way you plant your foot as you walk. Not only can it create foot pain, but it may lead to knee or back pain as well. If you think about it, our lower legs and feet take a lot of abuse-from holding all of our body weight, to taking the impact while walking and exercising.
Your first thought when thinking of “strengthening exercises” is probably of going to a gym, but that is not necessary. In these KURU videos, you will see stretches that you can easily do throughout the day. And each of them will improve the strength and dexterity of the targeted muscles and tendons. KURU believes in helping people reach their goals of a healthy life without having to go the “extra mile” to get there. So much so, that we have collected some stretches that can be done anywhere, including the workplace! Check out how these muscle-moving actions can give you relief while you are on the clock:
Gastroc Calf Stretch
This standing stretch is excellent for the workplace. All you need is a wall to work with, and you can give your calves and upper legs a great stretch. The best thing about this move? It gives light pain relief to sore legs right away.
What if you could stretch while you are working at your desk? Sound crazy? Not with this exercise! You can get all the benefits of this stretch without ever leaving your desk, all you need is bare feet and a towel or cloth. It is so simple, you can still work on your computer or paperwork while you strengthen your feet and toes.
Standing Calf Raises
This is a stretch that you may have done almost every day without even realizing it. Have you ever gone up on your tippy toes to reach something? How about to see over you cubicle and talk to a work buddy? Yep, you can take your lower leg strength to new heights with this simple movement!
This is the slightly more advanced version of the Towel Curl exercise. it requires both your toes and legs to complete the movement, so it can help increase blood flow to your lower body during or after being seated for a long period of time. And as a bonus, you can practice this one to pick up things that you dropped under your desk!
Foot Circles Exercise
Do you struggle with sore or weak ankles? This can boost the agility and strength of your ankles and give you a better foundation for walking. It is especially useful for people who are on their feet, walking or standing, for the majority of the day. If you drive for a living, or have a long commute, it can give some relief to stiff legs and ankles.
These stretches are great for when you have been sitting in the office or a car for long periods of time; and relieve pain from walking or standing. To see faster results, take a few breaks to stretch throughout the day. The increased blood flow is good for your mood and problem solving as well. And with a few simple changes and the world’s most comfortable shoes, you can take on anything!