What if someone told you there was a miracle cure for back pain that also helped slim your waist? You’re about to find out, because such a “cure” actually exists: Simple foot exercises.
While it might sound absolutely unbelievable, engaging in a couple of easy-to-perform foot exercises can do wonders for your entire body. Points out Erika Bloom, founder of Erika Bloom Pilates Plus in New York City, as a person learns to lift the arch of the foot, spread the toes and properly center the body’s weight over the length of the foot, all of the muscles in your body will move better and “your spine will stack as it should, your core will engage, and your posture will improve immediately.”
The Four Miracle Foot Moves
Bloom recommends four foot exercises to reduce bodily pain and work your abs, done twice a week, as told to Active.com. They include:
Arch Strengthening Caterpillar
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Starting with your feet about 24 inches from your butt, lift both arches and pull your toes back toward your heels. Relax your arches and slide your feet a bit closer to your butt. Repeat the process until you heels nearly reach your glutes and then repeat the sequence in reverse, slowly moving your feet away from your butt. Do this three times in a row to help strengthen the arches of your feet.
Ankle Stabilizing Windshield Wiper
As with the Caterpillar, start out lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, about 24 inches away from your glutes. Lift your toes and flex your foot until just your heels are on the ground. From heel to toe, slowly roll your feet toward the ground and lift your heels until just your pointed toes are touching the ground. Repeat 10 times for improved ankle stability and strength in the entire foot.
Gait Correcting Wing and Sickle
Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Roll your feet toward one another until the sides of your big toes are against the ground. Conversely, roll your feet away from each other, until your pinkies are touching the ground. Repeat the process, slowly moving your feet away from each other with each rep until they’re about three feet apart. Walk them back together using the same “wing” movement, and repeat the entire process three times for improved gait and ankle stability.
Foot Ligament Stretching Round Knot
Start by sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend one leg until the outside of that calf rests on the thigh of the opposite leg. Interlace your fingertips with your toes so that your toes are resting against the webbing between your fingers. Let the foot totally relax, and then make large circles — six one direction, six the other direction — with the foot you’re holding. Repeat on the other leg for better spine alignment and foot ligament stretching.