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Exercising Your Feet

Putting your best foot forward/When heels fall flat

By Candace Williams

Picture the following scenario: it’s a Monday morning and you’re rushing out the door to get to work on time. You see your bus approaching, so you flag down the driver, and pound the pavement, bags in hand, running to get to the bus stop in time. Your heart is pounding and you’re breathing hard. You make it with seconds to spare. By the time you get to work, your feet are hurting because you’re not wearing comfortable shoes. 

It’s a likely scenario especially as many of us don’t stop to think about our feet and how they impact our health. How you treat the feet influences your gait, posture and overall well-being. Wearing high-heeled shoes pitches you forward and takes you out of your center, affecting your posture and shortening lower back muscles. 

Comfortable, properly fitting shoes are unlikely to stress the joints by the big toe, especially if you have bunions. When you stand in comfortable footwear and push your shoulders back, you don’t sink into your spine and slouch. When you slouch, you’re compressing all your organs so they’re not working efficiently. When you stand tall, you exude an air of confidence.

In Essentrics®, feet exercises are an important component of every workout.

In some of her workouts, Essentrics® founder Miranda Esmonde-White explains that feet are the foundation of the body. We actually have more energy when our feet, ankles and calves are flexible, strong and healthy. She takes the viewer through a series of exercises designed to elongate and strengthen foot, ankle and leg muscles while rebalancing the body.

Esmonde-White says alignment starts with the foot. She uses the analogy of a triangle for proper placement of the foot on the ground.

Foot Triangle

The knees then are automatically put into alignment. Esmonde-White says that in some cases, feet are so locked up that they don’t move. Try this exercise:

  1. Place your feet on the ground. Can you lift your toes up and down? 
  2. Can you flex and point your feet using the ankle joint?
  3. Can you move your feet clockwise and counterclockwise from the ankle joint?

The human body was designed to move. When you think about it, your feet are your primary mode of transportation, taking you from place to place. Foot problems can impact the rest of the body, affecting muscle chains elsewhere, tightening them. Think of how often we use our feet for walking, running, sprinting, riding a bicycle or motorcycle, kicking, dancing, rock climbing, skateboarding, skiing and other fitness activities. Put your best foot forward and remain grounded!