A simple, yet effective exercise for foot strength and balance!
This blog will be covering a single leg balance exercise which will improve your foot musculature strength and your balance – two components of body function which are essential to healthy walking and running. It can help reduce the possibility of plantar fasciitis, Achilles tedonitis, and knee and hip pain.
The main body position of this exercise is to stand erect on one foot with your leg in line with your torso – don’t allow your butt to stick backward or hips to slant downward. If your balance is not good enough to even balance on one foot, use one or two fingertips against a solid object (wall, chair, etc) to provide some support. Next, without lifting your toes or heel off the floor, shift your weight slowly from the ball of the foot to the heel. Shift back and forth repeatedly but slowly, taking about 2 seconds to move through the motion. Repeat 10 times. Next, instead of shifting forward and backward, shift your weight from the inside to the outside of your foot. Take 1-2 seconds to move through the motion. Repeat 10 times. This is much more challenging as there is less available range of motion in the foot to work with through this plane. Next, for the final motion, if you are standing on the right foot, let your left hip drop downward without letting the right knee bend. After dropping the hip downward, lift it up as high as you can, bringing your outer pelvis up toward your rib cage. Take about 3 seconds to complete the motion. Repeat 10 times. Think of all of these exercises as fine tuning – the motions are not large full joint motions but are designed to work on isolation of fine motor and joint movements. To advance any of these exercises, you can hold dumbbells or a kettle bell or close your eyes. One hint to fit these exercises into your day is to perform this series when talking on the phone, waiting in line, etc. versus setting aside some specific exercise session. As always, be sure to check with your primary care provider before beginning an exercise or balance program to be sure you are fit and safe to engage in exercise.