A few years ago, I noticed I’d come to rely on well-made shoes all day long: I couldn’t even walk around my own home without wearing them. I was having issues with my feet, experiencing everything from cramping to increased sensitivity, and decided to do something about it.
Four practices helped me build strength in my feet and develop a more balanced walking gait.
Start your day with bare feet. Put off using shoes or slippers as long as you possibly can. This can often be a big challenge.
Stretch anytime during the day. Start by leaning both feet forward together, allowing your body to balance over your toes, and raise your heel, putting your weight forward. Keep doing this until you’re able to do just one foot at a time. Next, lean your weight to the outsides of your feet, hold yourself for a count you are comfortable with, and working towards eventually increasing the time you’re able to do this.
Pick up a marble with your bare feet. You may never get it, but that’s not really the point: even trying to do so for a few minutes a day will give your feet a workout.
Go outside barefoot for a few minutes a day. This unique connection to the earth is rewarding all by itself. Push the time a little longer every day.
Having strong feet helps with overcoming leg fatigue and increasing balance when walking, hiking, or even standing for long periods of time. Try these few feet exercises and perhaps you too will develop stronger, more capable feet.