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Almost every single athletic activity, the feet play a major role, and they’re gonna be the first point of contact that we have with our playing surface, or the board that we are using, so they’re the first part of the body that’s gonna absorb that feedback. And then often they’re also the first part of the body that directs that feedback, that reaction, back into the playing surface. So looking after your feet is really important. It can also have a huge difference on how we balance through the body. You know, how we’re standing, it’s our suspension system comes through the foot.
So how we land, how we take off, how our foot strikes when we run, there’s all these different things that the feet can can bring, so by looking after our feet, and having articulate feet, and feet that are responsive, it will have a big impact on our sport in performance. So here’s a really simple few exercises we can do with the feet that can really prepare us before we go for a run or before we begin our sport. Okay, so we’ll just begin by placing our legs out in front of us to start with, and let’s begin just by pointing and flexing the foot. And we’re not like pointing so severely that we’re like really stressing, we’re just doing a nice, relaxed point, but as we draw the toes back, that’s where we need to spend more attention, because what I wanna see is, as you bring your toes back, I wanna see some energy out through the heels, and pulling the little toes back as well. ‘Cause you’ll think this is simulating standing.
And when we stand, we don’t have our little toes rolling in. And you’ll notice if you look at the sole of your shoe, that you might have some part of the shoe that actually is worn down more than the other side, and that will give you an indication of whether you tend to sickle out, or whether maybe your knees roll in. So that can be a good place to look for a little bit of feedback. Let’s do one more of these, just pull the toe back, now point just the foot, not the toe, and now the toes, bring the toes back, and then the whole foot. Do this one more time.
So point in the balls of the feet, press the toes away, bring the toes back, bring the whole foot back. Now let’s give the feet a little bit of love. So cross one ankle over your knee, and sit comfortably, and we’ll begin just by circling your toe. See, moving it around through a range of movement, and then just give it a little tug, and we’ll move on to the next one, just circle it around, reverse it, and give it a tug. And if you feel any tension in that toe, you can spend a little longer on it.
Let’s do the same on this one, and give that a tug, and onto this second to last toe, and give that a tug, and then onto our little toe, just move that around, circle it, give it a tug. Now make knuckles with your other hand, and just massage up and down the arch of the foot. Just do that a few times. You might find a few points, if you’ve got like a sensitive point, then you can spend a little bit longer on that, until that sensitivity just releases a little, but moving up and down the arch of the foot, if you want, you can use your thumbs, as well, and just give the whole of the foot a little bit of a massage, it’s so often we spend so much time standing, especially as Pilates teachers, actually, up on our feet, and we rarely like give our feet the attention and the TLC that they need. They will thank you for it.
I can guarantee it. Now, this is the fun bit. Take your hands, spread your fingers wide, and we’re gonna place each finger through between the toes. And it’s gonna feel strange, and it may feel a little bit painful actually, and if that’s the case, just go easy, you don’t wanna force your fingers in there, but the more times you do this, the easier it will become. So you make a fist with your hand and your toes, and then use that fist just to circle the ankle around, so the ankle’s getting some attention too, and let’s reverse it back the other way, and then finally just do one last grit pretty squeeze the toes, squeeze the hands into the feet and then release.
Now let’s take a moment just to stand. So if we stand up now, I want you just to tune into your foot. How does that feel? Does it feel different? Does it feel like it’s more pliable, more articulate, more ready and prepared for activity?
And the other one might feel a little bit like stiff. So let’s give the other one some love now, as well. It’s really interesting, sometimes that actually translates all the way up through the foot, into the hip, so you can imagine the effect that that could have on sport performance. So let’s start just by circling your big toe in both directions, give it a little tug, and then circling the next one, and reverse it. Give that a tug, as well.
And once again, if there’s any toes or areas of foot where there’s a little more tension than elsewhere, just spend a little longer on them, move into the last two, and onto the little toe. All right, now make the knuckle and just rubbing the arch, and just see how that feels, and this is a simple, simple couple of exercises, that you can use just before you start your activity, whether that’s a run, or whether it’s, you know, a team sport or whatever it is, but, and see if this makes any difference to how your performance is, or how you felt during your athletic pursuit. So now I’m just massaging the bottom of the foot, and we’re ready to make a fist, so take the fingers, place them through the toes, it’s a little easier on this side for me. So that’s telling me something about my foot. Maybe I, you know, spend more time on the other one, maybe I need to give more attention to my right foot, I’m just circling the ankle around, and then making a really strong grip with the foot, squeezing the knuckles, squeezing the toes together, and then release.
Let’s finish by standing, and just see how that feels through both the feet. And I can tell you, straight away, they feel completely different. I feel ready, much more prepared, almost like my feet are more alert, and ready to serve me better during my activity, whatever it is that I’m about to do.