Two tips for stretching and warming up your feet before exercise

Updated on 25 March 2023

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Warming up before exercise helps the body to prepare for the effort and reduces the risk of injury and foot issues.

Integrating sports into your life means adjusting your schedule, and it is all too easy to skip warm-ups in order to save a few minutes. Before exercising, however, feet require just as much, if not more, care and attention as the rest of the body. Here are some professional recommendations for stretching and warming up your feet.

Why should you stretch and warm up your feet before doing sports?

Warming up is the process of progressively raising your body temperature. Warming up involves increasing blood flow and pulse rate, but it also means gently pushing muscles and joints in preparation for activity.

Stretching relaxes the muscles, and the brain receives a signal that the body is relaxing when the postures are held for 20 to 30 seconds. This is also an excellent way to conclude an exercise session.

What are the benefits of warming up your feet and ankles?

We allow our muscles to become more flexible and able to handle the repetitive and demanding motions we will be undertaking by practicing minor, moderate-intensity exercises before the more rigorous workout. Warming up does not have to take long; 3 to 5 minutes should be enough. If you participate in a sport that necessitates the mastery of a gesture, your warm-up can replicate that motion. A brief run or brisk stroll can also be used as an overall warm-up.

Warming up your feet and ankles will help you avoid sprains, increase your proprioception, and prepare your joints for impact. Podiatrists recommend the following two workouts.

1. Walking on your toes and heels

Warm up your feet by executing a few basic exercises that will soften and stimulate your feet, ankles, and legs in a gentle manner.

Point your feet as if you were attempting to reach something far in front of you while lying on your back with your legs extended outward, then return to their natural posture. Sit down on the floor and maintain your legs straight after about 10 reps. Bring your toes toward you numerous times with your foot bent this time. Finally, sit in a chair and make little ankle circles with your back straight and knees still to help warm up your joints.

You can next progress to a more targeted warm-up workout to help you prevent any issues following running or jumping. Walking back and forth on the balls of your feet with your weight on your toes is a good way to start. Then, walk back and forth on your heels with your toes raised after a few sets. These workouts are meant to develop the foot and leg’s muscle chain, as well as increase your balance and ankle strength.

2. Rolling your foot from heel to toe

Walking while being conscious of the rolling of the foot is the second exercise, which is suggested to minimize injuries and complications as well as to warm up the feet.

Following the sequence of warm-ups described above, repeat the walking circle, taking care to loosen your foot starting with the heel, then the arch, and finally your toes. On both feet, make sure you are aware of the support points. This warm-up activity is especially beneficial for runners since it simulates the action of your feet on the ground in slow motion.

The foot warm-up session does not need to be longer than 15 minutes. Warming up properly will minimize foot cramps that can develop during physical exercise, reduce the chance of injury, and allow you to assess your limitations if you are experiencing pain.

How do you warm up your feet? What routine do you use, and for whom?

There are a range of tailored warm-ups available depending on your favorite activity. You may see your podiatrist or make an appointment at one of the FootNetwork clinics to get expert advice on how to keep your feet healthy before, during, and after exercise.

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