As we get older we can not catch a fall as well as we did when we were in our early twenties. Our balance is less good so the risk of falling can be increased and even fatal.
The good news is that you can easily do something about this by working on your foundation, your feet. With your feet you do so many daily movements. Your feet contain 33 joints and more than a hundred muscles, tendons and ligaments. That is why it is important to learn how to move stiff, painful and inactive feet better. Especially when you experience that your knees and hips also move more stiffly.
Can you stretch your toes in your shoes?
There is a good chance that you have spent a large part of your life in ‘good’ shoes. Shoes that support well.
But most probably these are stiff shoes with a (slightly) raised heel and limited space for stretching your toes. Shoes that have kept your foot muscles in an armor over the years.
That in combination with our sitting habits and the lack of walking on natural terrain, can lead to calluses, hammer toes, heel spurs, osteoporosis, neuropathies and osteophytes (bony protrusions around the joints). And even without those ailments, your feet can be stiff, even if you are still in your 20s or 30s. If you do not move the joints and muscles in your foot, your circulation will decrease there. This allows you to recover less from an injury or other injury, this is especially important for people with diabetes. But a ‘stiff’ foot can also lead to complaints in the knees, the lower back and even neck pain.
The good news is that by moving your feet with simple exercises, you can activate the muscles again and make them smoother and improve your balance.
How do you keep the joints in your foot flexible?
Bumps can help to keep the joints in your feet supple. For this you do not have to go hiking in the hills. You can introduce this in a safe way by means of a tennis ball. By rolling your feet over a ball, you will also stand and walk more stable and your feet become more powerful. This exercise is for everyone, of all ages.
Ball rolling with your feet from a traditional Chinese medicine point of view
From a TCM point of view you can stimulate kidney acupuncture point 1 by ball rolling with your feet.
As a result, it can provide relieve with:
- insomnia, palpitations, anxiety, bad memory, mania, staying behind, night sweating. Moreover, this point works very grounding
Ball rolling with your feet from a reflexology point of view
In reflexology a lot of reflexzones are stimulated by rolling the ball over the sole of your foot. The greatest pressure will be on the digestive organs for most people. Especially on the large and small intestine. This means that this exercise can bring up the urge for bowel movements and promote better circulation in the intestines. In addition, many other digestive organs are massaged by the ball such as the stomach, the pancreas, the spleen, the liver, the gallbladder. But also the pelvis, the lungs and the heart are stimulated via the reflexzones. In general we can say that rolling with the ball can be very effective to massage multiple reflexzones and it can be relaxing.
Gently rest the weight on the ball.
Move your foot forward and backward over the ball, from left to right and back again.
Apply pressure to the different joints.
Imagine your foot as a floor that you have to vacuum. You do not want to make hairs or dusts whirl, so you go through all corners and holes.
We will vacuum the entire surface.
Go carefully and with small pieces along the heel, the ball, your toes, all the joints and the middle pole of your foot, this is allowed at a very quiet pace.
Pressure more or less pressure.
When you stand up you practice more pressure (provides more movement in the joints of the feet), just as you move your weight towards the ball also gives more pressure.
If all goes well, you’ll now have more grip with the ground under your foot that you have just treated.
You are already a lot more stable and grounded on one side.
Vary with different sizes and structures (soft, hard and with structure around it).
Each ball will move the joints in your foot in a different way.
Keep the balls in a tube, basket or dish where they are together. Then you won’t stumble over loose balls.
Bowman, K. (2017). Dynamic aging: simple exercises for whole-body mobility (4e ed.). Sequiem, Washington, United States of America: Propriometricspress.