Protect Your Feet During Cardio Workouts
Unlike weightlifting and ab routines, you rely on your feet heavily during cardio workouts. Even if your feet are healthy, you should take preventative measures to avoid developing bunions, ingrown toenails, athlete’s foot, and other issues.
Protect Your Feet During Cardio Workouts
No matter if you are doing a sprint workout or a hike through the woods, this guide will help you protect your feet during cardio workouts.
Perform Foot-Specific Stretches
Simply running will not strengthen your feet in the way that they need to be strengthened. Before beginning your workout, you should stretch and move your feet individually. This will prevent pain as you perform your main workout and strengthen the individual muscles in each foot.
People with weak feet or more likely to develop chronic ankle instability. They can also experience issues like neuromas, inflammation, or stress fractures, according to Runner’s World.
Check out some of the most effective foot-specific stretches and workouts you can try at home with minimal (or no) equipment:
- Toe Spread and Press: Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Lift your toes up and spread them apart as far as possible. Hold this position until they become slightly fatigued. Then, spread your toes on the ground and press the ball of your big toe down. Do not let any part of your foot lift.
- Write the Alphabet: In a sitting or standing position, lift one foot several inches off the ground. Write out the alphabet in the air using your foot. Switch to the other foot and repeat as many times as you want. This exercise will increase the mobility of both the big toe and ankle.
- Single-Leg Hops: Single-leg hops will coordinate ankle, foot, and hip movement to decrease the risk of injury. Start by standing on your right leg and jump forward. Do your best to land softly with your leg bent. Return to where you started and repeat this movement in different directions. Switch to your left leg and repeat.
- Tree Pose: Tree pose is just one yoga pose that can help strengthen your feet and make running easier. Start by standing on one foot and extending your arms upwards. It’s a pose that promotes balance and builds strength in each ankle individually.
These exercises can be performed before or after a cardio workout. Experiment with all of them to determine which ones help minimize your foot pain.
Wear the Proper Shoes for Your Workout
Your feet are the foundation of your body (and your cardio workout). Treat them with care by investing in the proper footwear. Look for therapeutic footwear such as this, which offers stability-enhancing and pain relief features.
This kind of footwear is especially beneficial to those with foot conditions like Morton’s neuroma, hammer toe and plantar fasciitis.
Before selecting the pair that’s right for you, become familiar with your foot size and type. As you age, your foot size may increase by a half size or so. Women who have had children often experience a whole size increase.
You should also know if your feet are flat or have a high arch. Knowing your feet’s type will allow you to pick a shoe with the right balance of comfort and support.
Keep Your Feet Dry & Clean
Sweating during a cardio workout is inevitable. However, you need to practice proper hygiene to ward off the growth of bacteria on your feet.
If you use a public shower after your cardio workout, wear waterproof sandals or flip flops to avoid fungus growth and bacterial viruses.
Here are some other general tips to practice good feet hygiene if you regularly perform cardio workouts:
- Keep your toenails cut
- Regularly check your feet for blisters and cuts and clean these as necessary
- Wear a clean pair of socks every time you work out
- Consider getting moisture-wicking socks if you sweat a lot
Listen to Your Feet
Some people may experience general aches and pains during cardio workouts, especially if they are working extra hard or have just recently started exercising. However, you need to listen to your feet and stop if you are experiencing abnormal aches and pains.
Cardio workouts can take a toll on your feet, as they involve a lot of consistent pounding and stress on your ankles.
Don’t try to power through a workout. Allow yourself time to recover and don’t start performing cardio workouts until you are no longer in pain. If you try to return to your cardio too soon, you may risk seriously injuring yourself.
A lot goes into keeping your feet healthy. Without the proper preventative measures, you may acquire severe issues that can inhibit your fitness goals.
Use this guide to get started with practicing good foot health today!