Foam Rolling – FEET?!
We all read about how foam rolling needs to be an integral part of our fitness and exercise routine. It is becoming more of a staple these days, and for good reason. Foam rolling, aka self-myofascial release (or SMR), is a way for you to give yourself a deep tissue massage using a specifically designed tool and your own body weight to help relieve tightness or tension in muscles and fascia (the connective tissue).
One area that most of us don’t even think about rolling (or exercising) is our feet. When they work the way they are supposed to, they give us proper stability, balance and movement. Our feet are the only things that connect us to the ground. Any imbalance, tightness or inflammation in our feet can affect how everything above them works. The only time we think about working our muscles in our feet are when we suddenly have some sort of pain or injury.
Following the theory of foam rolling and using it to keep the first and most important part of our kinetic chain healthy, we can improve performance, relieve pain, prevent plantar fasciitis, and gain better all-around movement.
There is no need for fancy equipment to start a rolling routine for your feet. In fact, if you have a tennis ball, traditional foam roller, metal water vessel or any similar item, you will be well-equipped to reap the benefits. If you have especially tender feet, start with a frozen plastic water bottle. That will help to slightly numb your foot while you adjust to the rolling sensation.
To start rolling your feet, begin at the heel. Keep your toes on the floor while pressing your heel into your tool of choice. Move your heel back and forth from right to left across the heel. Hold still on any tender spots and keep still for 10 seconds while breathing a few relaxing breaths. It should take about 45 seconds for each foot.
Next, move the roller into the arch of your foot just in front of the heel. Just push onto that area for 10 seconds, still breathing those relaxing breaths. Then move into the middle of your arch, just behind the ball of your foot. After 10 seconds there, roll the entire length of your arch for about 30-60 seconds.
The ball of your foot is the next area to place on the rolling tool. Try to grip your toes around it. Hold 5 seconds and repeat about 5 times. Now try lifting one toe at a time and stretch it away from the roller, holding for 5 seconds. Do this with each toe. Finally, roll up and down or side to side on the ball of your foot, stopping and holding still on the tender spots for 10 seconds.
When your feet are prepared for movement, the rest of your body will follow suit. You can expect to run, jump, change direction and balance better.
Any discomfort or tenderness in your feet will be relieved. In turn, the tension in your calves, hamstrings, glutes and lower back will dissipate!
Along with stretching, rolling your feet can help calm the discomfort identified with plantar fasciitis. AND – it can help prevent future problems!
Because our whole body is connected, if you follow this simple routine every day, you will boost the physiological balance in your body that supports positional awareness and better movement of your body. You should start feeling more strength in your feet and better response from your joints and muscles all the way up into your legs, hips, back and core.
Consult with a certified personal trainer who can teach you proper form, appropriate exercises and design a program you can and want to stick with. Contact Julia Darrah with Life in Motion Fitness for advice and what YOUR body needs today!