These summer classics are also culprits in the creation of tightness of the calves, ankles and feet of your body. Standing in one place for a period of time, or standing with little walking, or lots of small-step walking-like in a crowded type situation, much longer than the muscles and fascia of your legs are conditioned for, can leave these areas tight. Likewise, a lot of activity in the heat may leave your body a bit dehydrated (another way to tightness, or worse, muscle cramps).
This month I thought we could quickly review a few ways to restore supple happy feet, calves and ankles after a demanding summer day. All you need is a few found-objects: a tennis ball (of course if you have a fascial release ball, that’s a bonus), a yoga mat (foam half-round, if you have one), and an old t-shirt (Yoga Toes, if you have a set).
To support better leg energy, and to reduce wear to the joints of the toes/ankles/knees/hips/low back, it is worth the time to assemble practices that can loosen the feet, exercise the ranges of the ankle, and loosen the calves.
Toe stretching can have a surprising restorative effect on tight feet, simply by weaving an old, soft t-shirt between the toes and kicking back for 15 minutes while the space between your toes opens up a bit. This gives the toes more ability to spread and disperse forces to the foot when you stand/walk with them.
Using a tennis ball to roll out the arch of the foot as well as roll out the tight places in the calves can help hydrate the fascial web of these parts, and help loosen tight calves.
Using a rolled up yoga mat like a half round, can help with calf raises , calf stretching, and “mashing the arches.” Mashing the arches is the glorious feeling of pressing the arch of your foot into the arc of the rolled up yoga mat--sometimes doing what I also call "typewriter walking"; the practice of taking tiny little steps (for approx. 1 minute), side-by-side from one end of the mat roll to the other (have a wall nearby, or a chair back for balance). You are essentially kneading the bottoms of your feet…heaven.
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Finally, as the summer heats up you have to hit the water, a-plenty! It seems that a well hydrated body is the product of consistency. You have to adapt (train) your body to absorb water. Drinking a consistently plentiful amount of water every day trains your body that you are safely near water and it can calibrate to utilitze, say all 100 ounces, that you drink. In the absence of consistent conditioning, you may not appeal to you bodies sense of survival, and it may send water it deems excess right on down-river. Likewise, during heat spikes, or higher work load in high heat (yard work, cardio) we can often benefit from some form of electrolyte support to encourage our bodies to better utilize fluids.
Between the festivals and the parades, I am here to answer any questions all summer long.
Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org~
Stay loose, keep fluid, and be ROBUST!