The strength of your feet affects other parts of the body such as hips, lower back, ankles, and even your chest. You can test how strong your feet are by using rollers at the local gym. The gym trainer will recommend that you try rollers of different diameters and densities. If you are not well versed with rollers, select one with a high diameter and softer density.
Ensure that your body is in a seated position when you apply the rollers to avoid exerting too much weight on your back. Once you are comfortable with the first set of rollers, select another pair until your body cannot hold the full weight. You can bolster this strength through simple techniques.
Wear the right shoes
People wear shoes for various reasons, the most important one being to protect the feet. Finding the right pair of shoes goes beyond comfort and fashion to include a health aspect. For instance, the toe box of your shoes should have enough room to hold your toes. Otherwise, it will press your toes together and weaken the foot muscles. This problem can escalate to affecting your nerves.
On the other hand, wearing shoes with thick soles reduces transmission in the sensory nerves, thus affecting your balance. If you suffer from flat feet, ask a podiatrist to recommend the best insoles for flat feet. Insoles will reduce the severity of discomfort by boosting your ankles and feet.
Walking on soft rocks
Look for a patch of soft rocks typically found on the beach and walk back and forth on the rocks. This exercise helps by sending signals to the proprioceptive nerves found underneath the feet. Walking on different sizes of rocks activates these nerves and transmits signals to the nerve system of the lower back.
Repeat this exercise over several weeks to reawaken the proprioceptive nerves. Besides strengthening your feet, this routine will reduce the chances of developing back pain down the road.
Work on the arches
Start by lying on your back and rest your feet firmly on the ground. You can do this in your living room, or you can use your patio furniture. Lift both arches and simultaneously move your toes in the direction of the heel area. Relax both arches and flatten the feet. Ensure that your heels are facing towards your glutes and repeat this process by pushing your heels until they almost reach the glutes.
Repeat this exercise in reverse where the arches go up, and the heels move towards your toes. Then let your toes face forward as the arches fall flat. This routine is popularly known as the Caterpillar due to the manner in which the arches move.
Typically, you are required to wear shoes to work, school or while running other errands. This habit leaves your feet enclosed for most of the day. Taking off your shoes just before bed is a complete disservice to your feet, especially in the case of high heels. Practice staying barefoot when at home to keep your feet level to the ground. Boost the strength of your feet by raising up on your toes as if you are reaching for something on a high shelf.
Try the opposite by walking on the balls of your feet and be careful not to lose your balance. Do this repeatedly and increase the duration each time until your feet become accustomed to the exercise. The goal of this exercise is to enhance stability, which will come in handy when you start running.
Running on grass
If your home has an ample front lawn, practice running on the grass barefoot for at least thirty minutes per day. Avoid running too early in the morning as the grass is likely to be wet from mildew, and it may cause you to slip and hurt your leg. Avoid running on the lawn in the rainy season for the same reason.
The main advantage of running in the grass is that the ground is soft and your body weight lands easier as compared to a rough ground like concrete. Alternatively, you can run in the sand. Running on either of these surfaces helps to increase joint circulation and flexibility in your feet.
Before embarking on a regular exercise regimen, it is important to strengthen your feet to avoid creating problems in the long term. After strengthening your feet, invest in good work out gear such as sports bras, a running backpack, and shorts.
Jessica Natalie is a health and fitness lifestyle blogger who is passionate about running and wants to spread the love on her blog CauseILoveRunning.com