By Rikki Alrutz
Do you experience achy feet after a long day on the job or a little soreness after that great workout? I am a firm believer in rolling out the body: for pre-workout stretches, post workout relief and repair, as well as for everyday maintenance. There are many ways to roll out your feet and countless products advertised to help get the job done, but all you really need is a tennis ball. If that’s too hard to begin, then a simple small rubber ball will do. I love the little green balls by the Franklin Method sold on Amazon, but you can use whatever you find around your house as well.
Rolling your feet will do wonders for your body; of course, your tootsies will feel better, but rolling out your soles can actually loosen tight hamstrings and relieve back pain, create better posture, hydrate scar tissue, help relieve plantar fasciitis, stimulate metabolism, prevent edema, and much more. Not a believer? Think about it. When you release the bottom of your feet—the starting point of a network of connective tissue that goes all the way up your body to the top of your head—you are taking care of the literal base of your body.
Today, I want to mention three very simple and easy rolling exercises you can perform anywhere. Enjoy!
- Standing with your arms by your sides, or on your hips, place your right foot on the tennis ball. Begin by rolling your foot over the ball, almost as if you were rolling out some dough. You may go farther into a lunge position if your balance allows. Make sure to roll the inner, outer, and middle areas of your foot, applying only light to moderate pressure, as you begin these exercises. Keep the left leg straight and stable and keep going for 2-3 minutes.
- Next, place your heel on the ground, behind the ball with the middle of the foot on the ball. It might take some practice before your heel goes down, but stick with it. Turn your foot from side to side, left to right, trying to touch your foot to the floor. Keep the left leg straight and stable and continue for 2-3 minutes.
- Finally, push the ball out a tiny bit in front of you, again with the heel down and the ball of your foot on the ball. Keep both legs straight and hinge from your waist, folding down toward the floor, keeping your back flat. Feel the stretch all the way up your leg. Give me 6-8 hinges.
Repeat with the left foot.