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How to Get Stronger Feet

Stronger feet can relieve back pain, make you run faster, improve balance, and reduce ankle and feet injuries. Get-Fit Guy has 5 tips for stronger feet.

By
Ben Greenfield,
October 1, 2012
Episode #109

Page 1 of 2

Every time your feet touch the ground when you’re walking, you’re asking them to absorb two to three times your body weight – with each step! Considering the average person takes around 3,000 steps per day, that’s a lot of weight.

And if you happen to be a runner, you might land on your feet 5,000 times per hour during just one long run. So think about that: If you take 5,000 strides and your feet are absorbing around 300 pounds per stride, then you’re putting 1,500,000 pounds on your body during a 1-hour run! If you’re sprinting or running fast, your feet take an even greater pounding. Each foot strike of Usain Bolt, the world-record holder in the 100-meter sprint, hits the ground with over 1,200 pounds of force – about four times greater the average jogger!.

Even if you don’t run, your feet take a beating simply walking around and standing. If they’re not up for the challenge, the result of those weak feet can be strain on the low back, knees, and hips, not to mention foot injuries such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, or metatarsal fractures, and ankle sprains and strains.

See also: Is Running Bad for You?

 

That’s why in this episode, you’re going to learn how to get stronger feet!

How Feet Get Weak

Most people have weak feet – and this is a direct result of not only wearing shoes for most of the day, but specifically wearing shoes that are designed for maximum stability and cushioning. Just imagine if from the time that you were born, you wore protective gloves on your hands all day long. If you ever got into a situation in which you had to take those gloves off and do manual labor such as moving furniture, doing some pull-ups, or swinging a golf club or tennis racquet, your delicate hands would be beat up and blistered in no time!

In the same way, you can’t keep your feet constantly in the protective cocoon of padded shoes (even fancy fitness shoes), never strengthen your feet with the exercises you’re about to learn, and expect your feet to somehow last through a long run, a bike ride, or a pickup game of basketball, soccer or tennis.

How to Get Strong Feet

So how can we get strong feet that can help with back pain, make you run faster, improve balance, and reduce ankle and feet injuries? Here are 5 Quick and Dirty Tips to get strong feet:

Tip #1: Stand More

In the episode 7 Ways to Burn Calories By Standing More, you learned that sitting can be a potentially life shortening activity and can also shut down your fat burning metabolism. But that’s not all! Sitting all day can also keep your feet from getting strong. For this reason, I personally use a standing workstation and stay on my feet for most of the day in either minimalist shoes (such as my Skoras or Vibrams) or barefoot. To both strengthen and stretch my feet even more, I’ll often roll a golf ball around under my feet, or even stand on two or three golf balls to get my feet strong while I’m chatting on the phone or working on the computer.

Tip #2: Lose the Shoes

If you’ve been wearing big, bulky, protective shoes for a long time, then your feet may have difficulty properly sensing the ground. So try incorporating “feel-for-the-ground” activities such as standing on one leg when you’re brushing your teeth, standing on one leg on a balance disc or balance pillow at the gym, standing on one leg for exercises like overhead presses, or even bouncing on one leg on a mini-trampoline a few times a week.

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