As we get older, we become less able to absorb a fall as we did in our early twenties. Our balance is less good, which increases the risk of falling and can even be fatal.
The good news is that you can easily do something about this by working on your foundation, your feet. You do so many daily movements with your feet. Your feet contain 33 joints and more than a hundred muscles, tendons and ligaments. That is why it is important to first learn to move better with stiff, painful and inactive feet. Especially if you experience that your knees and hips also move stiffer.
Can you stretch your toes in your shoes?
There is a good chance that you have walked in 'good' shoes for a large part of your life. Shoes that provide good support.
But most likely these are stiff shoes with a (slightly) raised heel and limited space to stretch your toes. Shoes that have kept your foot muscles in a harness over the years.
This, combined with our long sitting and lack of walking on natural terrain, can lead to bunions, hammer toes, heel spurs, osteoporosis, neuropathies and osteophytes (bony protrusions around joints). And even without those conditions, 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 decreases. This makes it slower for you to recover from an injury or other injury, which is especially important for people with diabetes. But a 'stiff' foot can also lead to complaints in the knees, lower back and even neck pain.
The good news is that by moving your feet with simple exercises, you can reactivate and make your muscles more flexible and improve your balance.
How do you keep the joints in your foot flexible?
Bumps and lumps can help keep the joints in your feet flexible. You don't have to go for a walk in the hills for this. You can introduce this in a safe way using a tennis ball. Rolling your feet over a ball also makes you stand and walk more stable and makes your feet more powerful. This exercise is for everyone, of all ages.
Rolling a ball with your feet from traditional Chinese medicine
From a TCM perspective, you can stimulate kidney acupuncture point 1 by rolling a ball with your feet.
As a result, it can provide relief from, among other things:
- insomnia, palpitations, anxiety, poor memory, mania, hot flashes, night sweats. In addition, this point has a very grounding effect.
Rolling a ball with your feet from reflexology
From the perspective of reflex zone therapy, a lot of reflex zones are stimulated by rolling the ball over the sole of your foot. For most people, the greatest pressure will be on the digestive organs. Particularly on the large and small intestines. As a result, this exercise can, among other things, induce the urge to defecate and promote better blood flow in the intestines. In addition, many other digestive organs are massaged by the ball such as the stomach, pancreas, spleen, liver, gallbladder. But the pelvis, lungs and heart are also stimulated via the reflex zones. In general, we can say that rolling with the ball can be very effective in massaging several reflex zones and can have a relaxing effect.
- Sit or stand while holding onto something sturdy (choose what feels best for you). Start by standing with your bare feet hip-width apart. Close your eyes and feel your feet touching the ground. Where do your toes, ball of foot, center pole and heel touch the ground and where don't? Remember this for yourself.
- Place the tennis ball under one foot.
Gently rest the weight on the ball.
Move your foot forward and back over the ball, from left to right and back again.
Apply pressure to the different joints.
Imagine your foot as a floor that you need to vacuum. You don't want to let any hair or dust drift, so you go around every nook and cranny.
So we are going to vacuum the entire surface.
Carefully and in small pieces, go along the heel, the ball, your toes, all the joints and the center pole of your foot, this is allowed at a very leisurely pace.
Express more or less pressure.
When you stand, you exert more pressure (provides more movement in the joints of the feet), just as shifting your weight towards the ball also provides more pressure.
- Once you've done one foot, you'll feel the difference with your other foot.
If all goes well, you now have more grip and contact with the ground under your foot that you have just treated.
You have already become a lot more stable and grounded on one side.
- Now do the same for your other foot.
- Smaller and harder balls provide even more pressure than larger, softer balls.
Vary with different sizes and structures (soft and hard and with structure).
Each ball will move the joints in your foot in a different way.
Store the balls in a tube, basket or bowl where they are together. Then you won't trip over loose balls.
- The exercise , get to know your toes , calms your mind, among other things, but also helps with the spreading of your toes and therefore better balance. You can do this exercise while sitting.
- The calf stretch works well for heel spurs, lower back pain, hemorrhoids, headaches and abdominal pain. Don't be surprised if you need to go to the toilet quite soon afterwards. It is also a good exercise for runners, football players, etc. where the calf muscles are often shorter.
- Visit a reflexologist every 4 to 6 weeks to maintain the blood circulation and flexibility of your feet.