Keeping Your Feet Fit

Healthy feet are among the most basic elements of being physically active. Whether you’re just getting

started or your feet have been through years of wear from physical activities including running, biking, tennis or dancing, they need to be in good shape for you to continue your fitness routine and gain myriad health benefit.

The experts at the Go4Life program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have some suggestions on smart strategies to treat your feet well:

Don’t overdo it. If you go too far, too fast, or don’t warm up properly, you can get painful foot injuries that will only incapacitate you.

Focus on walking. It’s a great way to increase blood flow, which is important for general foot health.

Try foot-specific exercises. Sit down and rotate your ankles in one direction, then the other.

In bare feet, sit in a chair and curl your toes, then spread them out. This exercise stretches and

strengthens your feet and helps your balance.

Check your feet often. Look for cuts, blisters, and ingrown toenails. You can use a mirror to check the bottoms of your feet. If you have diabetes, be sure to check your feet every day. (Editor’s note: If a problem such as an ingrown toenail is too persistent, talk to your physician or a podiatrist.)

Take good care of your feet:

•            Wash your feet regularly, especially between your toes. A warm foot bath is a big help.

•            Wear clean socks.

•            Put on your shoes only when your feet are dry.

•            Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes.

•            Don’t go barefoot outside

•            To help the circulation in your feet, put them up when you’re sitting. Stretching, walking, or having a gentle foot massage also helps.

•            If you are sitting for a long time, stand up and move around regularly.

•            If you cross your legs when sitting, reverse or uncross them often.

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