Giving consideration to the shape of the legs or butt is common for many fitness enthusiasts, but often the same attention is not given to the feet. As the body’s foundation and our main source of mobility, sturdy feet can positively affect your posture, body alignment and balance. Strong feet also promote stable and flexible ankles, which can help prevent injuries like strains and fractures. Perform exercises for your feet two to three times per week to maximize the strengthening benefits.
Warm up for approximately 10 minutes with a low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise, such as cycling, brisk walking or using the elliptical trainer.
Stretch the first foot using a hand towel; tightness and inflexibility in the feet can compromise strength. Sit tall on the floor with your legs extended in front of you and your feet flexed. Wrap the towel around the ball of your right foot and take hold of an end in each hand. Pull the towel gently toward your body; you should feel a stretch along the bottom of your foot as well as in your calf. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then rest for another 30 seconds. Complete three repetitions and then repeat on the left foot.
Strengthen your foot and calf with heel raises. Stand tall in front of a wall or chair, with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on the wall or chair for stability. Lift your left foot off of the floor and balance on the right. Press through your toes and the ball of the right foot as you raise the heel as high as possible. Hold the contraction at the top of the calf raise for one count and then lower the heel back to the floor. Perform 10 repetitions and then repeat.
Perform the marble pick-up with bare feet to strengthen your toes and the tops of your feet. Sit tall in a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Place 20 marbles on the floor next to an empty bowl directly in front of your feet. Pick up one marble at a time with your toes and place the marble in the bowl. Continue until all 20 marbles are in the bowl and then repeat the exercise with the other foot.