Let’s Get Grounded – 3 Tips to Wake Up Sleepy Feet

Last week, we introduced 3 breathing techniques to help reduce anxiety, calm the nervous system and promote diaphragmatic breathing. Building off that, this week’s home practice tip will focus on 3 ways to feel more grounded by waking up our tired, neglected feet.

Our feet are the base of our spine when standing and are critical to proper function of the entire kinetic chain above. Their mobility, adaptability, strength and movement patterns help us balance to prevent falls, know where we are in space, and help other muscle patterns fire properly.

There’s no better time than now, while we’re all staying home, to take a break from some of the constricting shoes we usually wear and reconnect with our feet!

● Piano Toes – Begin sitting or standing and lift all your toes, keeping the ball of your foot and heel on the floor. Try to spread your toes away from each other as wide as you can and see if you can see light (or the floor) between each one. The most important part is to see if you can bring your big toes toward each other. You should notice a big arch forming from your big toe to your heel and an energy building up through your foot muscles that travels up your lower leg and thigh. Now, practice placing down your pinky toes first, leaving all the others up. Next, lower the fourth toe, third, second and finally the big toe as if you are playing the piano with your toes. Try to maintain the big arch you felt in the beginning once the toes have lowered. Repeat 3 times

● Toe Sit – Begin kneeling with your toes tucked under and heels directly above the ball of your foot. Sit back carefully onto your heels and try to keep your body vertical so your body weight helps to mobilize your big toe joint. Feel it grounding into the floor and breathe. Hold for 30 seconds.

● Vele’s Lean – Begin standing upright and imagine a steel rod traveling through the center of your body from your ankles through your knees, hips, trunk, head and neck. Begin to lean forward slightly until you feel your feet wake up and grip the floor to prevent you from having to step forward. Your heels do not lift. The only moving joints are in your ankles. Be careful to not let your hips shift backwards. This exercise reminds me of the famous Michael Jackson lean! Hold the lean position while breathing and tuning into the arch of the foot and big toe knuckle rooting into the floor. Hold for 4 breaths.

So, show your feet some love and attention! Try walking around barefoot as much as possible. Grab some lotion and give your feet a self massage, moving all the joints and waking up the muscles. Then practice your 3 things to do as many times a day as you can and watch your feet start to come alive!

As always, we are here for you if you have any questions. Please stay healthy and stay safe!

– Dr. Kerri Nelson, DC, CCSP

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