If you have been on your feet all day (running after baby/ies or pounding the pavement in your high heels) and your muscles are calling out for some tender, loving attention from you, try these pilates exercises below for less tense, good-as-new, happy feet again.
Throughout these movements, do ensure that your spine is lifted and your shoulders are rolling back and down towards your hips. Lift up and out of your back as you keep your abdominal muscles contracted (engaged).
1. Foot Muscle Stretcher
Sit forward and on the edge of your chair with your legs hip-distance apart and at 90-degree angles. Place a dish towel on the floor in front of your toes. Keep your heels touching the floor throughout as you stretch your toes over the towel and begin by curling your toes to roll the towel and gather it up. When you have the entire towel in a roll (scroll), reverse the exercise by unrolling the towel until it is flat in front of you again. Remember to breathe!
2. Foot-ankle Muscle Lengthener
Sit on the floor as you stretch your legs straight out in front of you. Point both of your feet as strongly as possible, then flex them back as far as you can. Imagine pressing your toes to the touch-screen button and then using your heels to do the same. Do this a few timeswhile breathing calmly and deeply.
3. Calf Strengthener
Standing tall on your feet, heels together, toes apart. Contract your abdominal muscles as you inhale and slowly rise up to your toes. Ensure that your heels are glued together. Press your inner thighs together to engage your buttocks and backs of legs even more. Hold for a count of 3 as you remain in tip-toe position. You may lightly touch the back of chair or wall for support. Exhale as you slowly lower yourself back down to the floor. Complete 5 sets.
These helpful tips are brought to you by Ms Claudel Kuek, Director of PowerMoves Pilates in the Park.
This article was first published in The New Age Parents Online Magazine Apr / May 10 issue Page 24