Exercise, including strength training, stretching, and balance activities is great for your overall health. Even better is if you perform several different types of activities to exercise all parts of your body, including the feet and ankles. You may not have thought of Yoga as an activity for your feet and ankles, but the vast range of poses can be beneficial.
Part of Yoga is to become more aware with your body parts and stretch and strengthen them beyond what you’re used to. Some of the following poses can refresh and rejuvenate your feet, especially after a long day of standing or walking. If you have never practiced Yoga before, it’s best to go to a class or learn from a teacher so that they can make sure you have proper form and alignment.
- Tadasana (or Mountain Pose): Often a beginning pose in yoga, you plant your feet next to each other on the ground and stand tall with your arms a bit out from your sides. Try to feel where you bear the weight of your body. As you take a few breaths, close your eyes to see if you can stay balanced. Might be harder than you think!
- Downward Facing Dog: This is a popular move that yogis will go back to for rest and stretching. It stretching your entire body, including your feet and ankles. As you work to get the back of the heels down to touch the ground, you’ll feel the pull from your toes up to your calves and hamstrings.
- Upward Facing Dog: The opposite of downward facing dog, this move stretches your abdomen and quads, with the tops of your feet holding some of the weight. You’ll feel the stretching from your toes to the front of your shins as you lengthen forward and upward.
These are only some of the many poses that you can use to improve foot and ankle health. Yoga can help you become more flexible, help you increase circulation, and improve your balance. You may start to notice how you shift your weight or whether or not your feet over or under pronate when you stand or walk. Remember that pain should not be a part of Yoga, so only push yourself as far as your body will let you. Flexibility and strength will come with practice.
However, if you notice some pain when you try Yoga or in any other activity, come see our podiatrists, Dr. Mark E. Reiner, Dr. Michael A. Haughey, Dr. William G. Coates, and Dr. Erik D. Rosenlof at The Podiatry Group at our Jonesboro, AR office. Make an appointment today so that we can assess your pain and get you the treatment that is suited for your needs.