Foot health is crucial as you get older. The longer you put wear and tear on your feet, the harder it is to stay independent and active as you get older. The more you jump, walk and run, the more your feet tend to break down. That’s why it’s ideal to find the best foot exercises for seniors to ensure that they can stay moving even after so many years.
Whether you’re currently suffering from pain in your feet, or just want to make sure that you can keep moving as you want as the years go by, these are some of the best foot exercises that you can do to ensure your balance, mobility, flexibly and strength stays on top.
What Causes Balance Issues as We Age?
As you get older, the more likely you’ll have problems with your balance. In some cases, though, you can work towards helping reduce the risk of certain balance problems, however, some problems often start suddenly and without any obvious cause.
In some cases, balance problems can happen due to medication or medical conditions. Checking out your medication with your doctor to see the symptons, and potentially reducing the dosage of any medication that can cause imbalance would be incredibly beneficial. Some medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, strokes, or any thyroid, vision, or nerve conditions could also cause imbalance.
In other cases, having inner ear problems, specifically the labyrinth which is responsible for balance, becomes inflamed, which causes vertigo and imbalance. Some other problems can occur during the use of alcohol.
There are also balance disorders that are not caused by old age but is something that you should look out for as you get older. Some symptoms include dizziness or vertigo, falling or feeling as if you’re falling, staggering when walking, lightheadedness, blurred vision and confusion.
Why Do Feet Become Weaker as We Age?
Unfortunately, balance is not the only thing that weakens as you get older. Your feet tend to become weaker as well. This is due to cell turnover and collagen production begin to slow down, and as the skin starts to thing, so will the fatty layer cushioning the soles and heels.
This too will cause stability problems that affects the knees, hips, and lower back as well. This will gradually wear down the cartilage in the joint space, along with cause inflammation, which only adds to the balance burden.
Why You Should Consider Foot Exercises
There are several benefits surrounding the best foot exercises for seniors. If you’re worried about staying mobile as you get older, than doing these best foot exercises for seniors is the best way to go.
But mobility isn’t the only reason you should opt for foot exercises. There are several reasons that these are the best ways to help your body. After so many years of walking, running and jumping around, your feet are prone to wear and tear, which can lead to developing arthritis, neuropathy, bunions and plantar fasciitis.
These all can be reasons why you are not as mobile as you used to be. Making sure your feet are healthy and worked out enough as you get older could make a huge difference on how you move when you’re older.
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Considerations Before Starting
Like any exercise, you should really focus on stretching and relaxing your muscles before trying out something. You should also be aware that, like many exercises, you could end up causing more harm than good.
If you’re interested in foot exercises, it could be best that you speak to either a doctor or a personal trainer before you start moving to make sure you’re doing the right movements. And always stretch before doing anything.
And of course, you have to make sure you’re not overdoing any exercise. Doing less at the beginning is often best, especially when working with something as crucial as your feet. If you overdo it, it can cause more pain down the line. Start small and work your way to make sure you’re strengthening yourself, not breaking yourself down.
Top Exercises for Foot Flexibility and Mobility
Big Toe Stretching
Like the name suggests, this is a great stretch that focuses on your big toe. This helps keep a wide range of motion in your feet, specifically the big toe.
There are three stages to this workout, but you’ll start with sitting straight in a chair with feet flat on the floor. Bring the left foot to rest on the right thigh and then use the fingers to gently stretch the big toe up, down and to the side.
Keep the toe in each position for about 5 seconds. Repeat this about 10 times for each foot.
Toe Raise, Point, and Curl
This is another great stretch for those looking for a simple exercise. You need to start this by sitting straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
You’ll want to keep the toes on the floor and then raise the heels. Stop only when the balls of the feet remain on the ground. Hold this position for about 5 seconds before lowering your heels.
The second stage includes raising the heels and point the toes so that only the tips of the big and second toes are touching the floor. Hold for another 5 seconds before lowering.
And lastly, raise the heels and curl the toes inward so that only the tips of the toes are touching the floor. Hold again for 5 seconds, and then lower. You can repeat this up to 10 times to help build flexibility and mobility.
Top Exercises for Foot Strength
3. Walk on Sand
This might sound weird, but walking along any rough ground can be a huge benefit to your feet. Growing up, we used to run around barefoot in the pavement outside in the cul-de-sac, and to this day, I still have some strong feet. This is similar; however, sand is a bit more forgiving than concrete.
If you live near a beach, volleyball court, inside or out, or any other place that might hold sand, go there! Then remove your socks and shoes and just take a walk. At first, it will be difficult to reach far distances, but if you continue to do this, it will help you have stronger feet.
2. Curling Toes
This is one of the best foot exercises for seniors who are trying to strengthen their feet because it’s super simple to do. By sitting straight in your chair, feet flat on the floor, you can lay a small town on the ground underneath them.
By curling your toes inwards, you can work on dragging the towel closer to your heels. You can repeat this up to five times and do it throughout the day easily. And what’s great is that you can add more challenges by weight down the towel with an object.
1. Toe Splay
The last best foot exercise is another simple task for seniors. Doing this will not only improve control over your does, but it will help you strengthen them and stay comfortable.
All you have to do is sit straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Spread your toes apart as far as possible without straining, and then hold for 5 seconds. Repeat this 10 times.
Top Exercises for Foot Pain
3. Toe Extensions
This is a useful exercise for those trying to prevent, or treat, plantar fasciitis, a condition that causes pain in the heel when walking. This can cause difficulty when raising the toes as well.
In order to do this exercise, you’ll want to sit straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place the left foot on your right thigh and pull the toes towards your ankles upwards. The stretch will be felt along the bottom of your foot and heel cord.
Just hold this position for about 10 seconds, massaging the arch of the foot while stretching to help ease any tension or pain. And then repeat this up to 10 times on each foot.
2. Roll on a Ball
To relieve any discomfort in the arch or to ease any pain associated with plantar fasciitis, the best foot exercise for seniors is rolling your foot along a ball.
To do this exercise, you’ll want to sit straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor once again. Place a golf ball, or any sort of small, hard ball, like a tennis ball, on the floor next to your feet. Lay one foot on the ball and move it around, pressing down as hard as comfortable.
The ball should start massaging the bottoms of your feet. You can continue this for a couple of minutes and then repeat on the next foot.
1. Achilles Tendon Stretch
One of my favorite stretches that I do, especially before doing any exercise, is the Achilles tendon stretch, which is a great way to relieve pain, especially a toe cramp.
Start by facing a wall and raising your arms so that the palms of your hands are resting flat against the wall. You’ll then want to move on foot back, keeping the knee straight the whole time. Then bend the knee of the opposite leg that is closest to the wall.
You’ll want to make sure both heels are flat on the floor for this. Push the hips forward until there is a nice stretch in the Achilles tendon and calf muscles. Hold for 30 seconds before switching to the other side.
For other stretches, you can bend your back knee and then push your forward. Or to stretch your toes, you can bend the front knee and just have your toes planted on the ground with your heel lifted in the air.
Foot Health and Safety Tips
But just doing some of these best foot exercises won’t fix all of your problems. If you’re wanting to make sure you stay mobile as you get older, there are various things you should watch for.
Doing a complete warmup before exercising is a great start to the habit, and then wearing supportive footwear throughout your day-to-day will help prevent any more damage to your feet.
That being said, replace any worn out shoes as often as possible. Damaged shoes could cancel out any progress you’re working towards, just like running or walking on uneven surfaces. And when it comes to running, try not to run uphill too often. You need to listen to your body to not overdo any activities and seek out medical attention if you feel discomfort by doing any activity.
Nutritional Tips for Maintaining Foot Health
Surprisingly, there are several things that you could eat throughout your diet to help promote more healthy feet, specifically focusing on a calcium, vitamin D, omega-3 oils and antioxidants rich foods. If you’re looking for some great examples for foot health, check out these options.
- Leafy green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale and watercress
- Walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, lentils and beans
- Blueberries, blackberries and cherries
- Sardines, salmon and mackerel
- Chicken and turkey
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How Can I Exercise My Feet White Sitting?
There are several ways that you can find best foot exercise for seniors while sitting. Above listed several options for you to sit.
If you want to stretch out your foot without standing, you can use a resistance band and hold the ends and wrap it around the bottom of your foot, lifting it up and stretching out your calf and foot.
You do not have to stand in order to get the best foot workout.
Does Walking Build Foot Strength?
Yes! Walking has several great benefits but is also one of the best foot exercises for seniors.
Walking barefoot is just another way that you can gain extra strength of your foot, however, opting for more enjoyable exercise is the best bet.
Recommended Footwear for Seniors with Bad Feet
3. Women’s Orthofeet Stretch Knit
Orthofeet is commonly recommended for great footwear for seniors. Whether you’re having mobility problems or balance issues or not, Orthofeet creates amazing footwear for you.
These shoes help protect from diabetes, arthritis, neuropathy, bunions and flat feet and has an arch booster included inside to enhance the support. It’s not only an adorable shoe that comes in a variety of colors such as lavender, blue, black, grey, and turquoise, but is extremely comfortable.
2. Men’s Orthofeet Edgewater
Of course, we need to include the men’s Orthofeet recommendation, which is the Edgewater.
This is another shoe that helps with diabetes, arthritis, neuropathy, bunions and flat feet and has an arch booster included inside to enhance the support. It is a bit cheaper than the women’s style but is still just as great.
1. Kuro Atom Footwear
Unfortunately, this product is not on Amazon but is considered one of the best footwear products for seniors. Kuro works hard to craft amazing footwear while fighting against foot pain.
They create amazing shoes that is perfect for seniors looking to heal their feet while staying active. You can purchase specific shoes based around different pains like plantar fasciitis, flat feet, heel pain and more.
The Atom is available for both men and women and come in a variety of colors and sizes. This shoe is perfect for those that want to work out, walk, everyday wear while looking stylish and healing your feet.
Finding the best foot exercise for seniors is crucial to keep mobility and balance up as you get older. Whether you’re currently struggling with mobility issues or pain or are wanting to make sure that your body stays active and independent for when you get older, these exercises and shoes are a great way to help you stay healthy.
From diets, exercises, to lifestyle changes, there is always something small you can do to make tomorrow a bit better. Take this as a sign to work on your foot health. But always make sure that if you find any discomfort that you speak to a professional and ensure you don’t cause more bad than good.