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With over 100 muscles located in the foot taking the typical brunt, pressure, and pounding of daily foot stress, it’s no wonder feet often ache. Without proper care, sometimes this even leads to foot ailments or injury and even surgery. However, for athletes and non-athletes alike, keeping feet fit with strengthening exercises for foot muscles, will benefit anyone in all walks of life. Our feet are far more important to our overall body health and fitness than the tires are for our car, SUV, or truck functionality, yet most of us spend more time, energy, and money and put more effort into tire maintenance of our vehicles than we do for our own foot fitness. Explore ways to keep your feet in shape with strengthening exercises for foot muscles.
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Stretching and Strengthening Foot Muscles
Most of what’s important about exercises for foot muscles involves some sort of stretching. Foot muscles, especially, become tight and inflexible with what feet have to endure every day. And even though many people realize the importance of regular stretching of other muscles during their exercise routines, most don’t think about the importance of stretching foot muscles. A number of foot muscle exercises are actually stretches. For instance, by simply pointing and flexing your feet repeatedly, you build up strength in many foot muscles. Also, moving feet from side to side while flexed or pointed in repetitions will strengthen and stretch foot muscles. These exercises for foot muscles can be performed while sitting at a desk or while watching TV.
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Gym and Group Exercise
A few pieces of equipment typically found at the gym are used for exercises for foot muscles. For instance, the leg press machine can be used as a foot press too. Instead of pushing against weights with flat feet, try keeping legs extended (without locking your knees though) and pushing against weights with just the balls of your feet. This requires allowing the backs of your feet to hang loose so that they can move up and down as your flex your feet. However, keep in mind that many of the most current and popular aerobic type group exercise classes, such as zumba, as well as yoga or pilates classes incorporate exercises for foot muscles in their routines. Some involve deliberate foot muscle stretching also.
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Benefits of Foot Massage
Just as stretching foot muscles helps overall foot strength, manipulation of foot muscles through massage can benefit and even aid in strengthening feet. It doesn't have to take a lot of time and money or even a professional masseuse to reap the benefits of massage though. Besides massaging your feet yourself (since most of us can reach them), keeping a tennis ball on the floor near where you sit at all times for massage is a great idea. Simply roll the tennis ball around with different parts of your foot for about five minutes a day with bare feet, and you might be surprised with the stress relief. Often times simple activities for muscle relaxation are the best form of strengthening exercises for foot muscles.
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Anatomy: Foot and Ankle - http://www.podiatrychannel.com/anatomy/index.shtml