‘Never skip leg day’ is a famous saying among athletes and other people who take their fitness regimen seriously. Although it’s often used to emphasize how difficult it is to build mass in the leg area, it also highlights the importance of focusing on all areas of the body, instead of just building upper body strength.
Strong legs and feet are important to maintain overall fitness, especially for runners and active people. While the feet may seem insignificant compared to the rest of the body, they are made up of muscles, ligaments, and tendons that require the same level of attention.
The Mechanics of the Foot
There are several external and internal muscles in the feet that facilitate the movement of the feet and toes. The external muscles connect the feet to the knee and help move them up and down. The internal muscles make up the structure of the feet and help in walking and balancing.
The muscles—such as the Achilles tendon and the anterior tibial muscles—that are connected to the rest of the leg have a direct effect on the knees, lower back, and hips.
Stable Foot Core and Performance
High-impact activities, such as running, require both external and internal muscles to function properly to absorb shock and reduce pressure on the other parts of the legs.
A strong foot core—which comprises the fascia, the heel, and the arches—can reduce the risk of pain, fatigue, and injury. This not only enhances performance, but also keeps the leg muscles in shape.
Proper Shoes for a Strong and Healthy Foot Core
One of the biggest mistakes that lead to muscle damage and a weak foot core is wearing the wrong shoes. According to leading podiatrists, runners and other athletes should carefully assess their foot condition and the type of activity they are taking part in. This will help them decide the best shoe for optimal performance.
This means choosing minimalist shoes based on features that you absolutely need. While there is no need to get extra cushioning if your foot doesn’t need it, it’s important to get shoes that offer comfort and proper support.
Strengthen the Feet through Exercise
Regular exercise and stretches can also help strengthen the foot core. Simple moves that can be done at any time of the day can develop a solid base for your legs.
Short exercises such as calf raises, drawing letters in the air with your big toe, and trying to grip objects with your toes and holding them for a few seconds are all easy moves that can help stabilize the ankles, toes, and feet.
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