Here’s another Practical Tai Chi | Chi Kung Health Tip – Ankle Strengthening Tip
This series of health tips is based on Tai Chi/Chi Kung health-supporting principles that everyone can apply. These tips are specially designed for people looking for minimal effort with maximum gain – a simple, practical and efficient approach to exercise.
Simple – easy to remember, easy to perform
Practical – being able to take it with you, not being tied to a gym.
Efficient – not having to spend much time or integrating it into your daily activities
This series is based on these key points:
- We need to keep the body strong as we age – use it or lose it.
- Best body regions to exercise for maximum benefit – legs, back (core), shoulders, ankles
On to the tip!
Ankle Strengthening Tip
Many older folks struggle with arthritis and stiff ankles which leads to bad balance and a tendency to fall – very bad! If you’re afraid of falling you are more likely to fall. Strong legs and ankles will give you the confidence in your posture and more likely prevent you from falling.
We need to keep our ankles in good shape by maintain a good range of motion. The ankles are a hinge joint with 2 movements – dorsiflexion (stand on your heels and lift toes), plantar flexion (stand on the balls of your feet and lift heels). Together with foot inversion (tilting foot inward) and foot eversion (tilting foot outward) we can create a circular motion that can challenge the ankles and make then more flexible so to better stabilize and maintain good balance.
Here’s the exercise: Using your toes to point the way – draw a circle with your toes so that the ankle joints, together on both feet, are rotating in a circular manner. Start by circling both feet inward, down and around together 10 or 20 times and then reverse the circle so both ankles are rotating outward, down and around.
You can shift your weight to one leg, slightly lift the other foot off the ground and circle the ankle – slightly elevated your foot to make the circle and then switch and circle the other ankle. You can do this sitting or lying down as well. If you struggle with arthritis and have stiff joints in the morning, it’s best to do the exercise in bed before getting up. This will reduce stiffness. It will also loosen and warm up the joint making it more stable to stand on, more flexible and less likely to fall.
The blood pools into the center of our body when we sleep. When we wake up, the arms and legs can feel weak and stiff until the blood starts to flow out to the extremities. Get that blood flowing to the ankles with this simple exercise, prevent falls and stay on a greater path for optimal health!
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