Happy Feet

Fitness to the Max helps you get happy feet.
Taking care of your feet will help you stay on your toes.

We tend not to think about foot health or foot agility until something bad happens—you get injured and it becomes difficult to get around. Here are some exercises that will help keep your feet happy!

Toe Scrunches

Take a towel under your foot and scrunch it up with your toes. As you scrunch, walk your foot forward slightly. Curl and release your toes 20 to 30 times on each foot.

Foot Rolls

Similar to how you use a foam roller on parts of your body, using a tennis ball or Pinky ball—which is a bit denser—on the bottom of your foot can help ease tension. Sitting in a chair, place a ball under your foot and apply a bit of pressure to the ball with your foot. You don’t really want to change the shape of the ball, but you want to feel resistance. Roll the ball up and back the length of your foot, spending more time in the tender, sore areas. Be careful with your arch and be sure to get all parts of your heel and the pad of your foot under your little toe. Spend one to three minutes on each foot.

Calf Raises

Do calf raises while holding onto the sink or the back of a chair. Start with your feet flat on the ground and press up through the balls of your feet to your highest demi-pointe. Focus on the articulation through your foot.

Heel Pulses

Still standing at a sink or holding onto the back of a chair, position your feet into a small V shape, with your heels touching and toes about two inches apart. Lift your heels slightly. Bend your knees and pulse down for 20 pulses with your heels still lifted. Then lift your heels as high as you can while still keeping a bend in your knees. Do 20 pulses, going as deep as you can with your back straight and your knees tracking over your second toe. Alternate low heels and high heels several times.

Backward Leg Lifts

Remaining at a sink or chair, extend your right leg behind you. Make sure your hips are square to the front. Point and flex your foot, working through your arch. Repeat 10 times on each side.

Resistance Bands

Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you with flexed feet. Wrap a resistance band around your right foot. Point and flex your foot 10 times, moving through the resistance of the band. Repeat on the other foot.

With the band around the ball of your right foot, flex through the foot. Pull back slightly on the band and pulse the foot in toward the center of your body for 20 pulses. Then pulse the foot out and away from your body for 20 pulses. Push into the band with the ball of your foot and then repeat on the other side.

Illustrations by Andriy Yankovskyy.

About author

Haley Greenwald-Gonella

Haley Greenwald-Gonella is a certified registered yoga teacher (200 RYT) with Yoga Alliance. She began dancing at the age of 3 and played flute and bassoon while growing up. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with degrees in dance and English. She has her master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from the University of Southern California. In addition, Haley is a director focusing on technology and innovation in the beauty sector.