Exercising your feet on a regular basis not only improves overall foot health, but may also reduce your risk for injury. Walking is the best overall foot exercise. When you walk, you put your foot through its full range of motion, from the time your heel hits the ground until you lift off with your toes. Moreover, walking is one of the best forms of exercise for your entire body. It improves your cardiovascular health and can help your circulation, muscle tone, and mood.
In addition to walking, flexibility and resistance exercises can also help keep your feet healthy.
Flexibility exercises. Exercises that improve flexibility help keep your feet limber and may reduce your risk for injury. Don’t worry if your feet have grown stiff with age; studies show that no matter how old you are, you can still improve your flexibility. The easiest way to build flexibility is through slow and gentle daily stretches, focusing on one group of muscles at a time.
Resistance exercises. Resistance exercises are those in which your muscles work against some type of resistance, such as weights or exercise bands. Resistance exercises strengthen muscles, which, in turn, provide better support and protection for the foot as a whole.
Foot flexibility and resistance exercises can be built it into your daily routine. You can do some while you sit at your desk; others require you to stand up. To avoid slips and falls, you may want be barefoot and have a chair, desk, or wall nearby that you can use for balance. Don’t do foot exercises if they hurt. And if you have arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, or structural foot problems that might affect your ability to exercise, consult a foot care specialist first.