Archive for May, 2010

Ankles and Legs: Mobility and Balance

Today I was looking at my ankles and realized that I have stronger ankles and better leg tone than I had 20 years ago. Since I made a commitment to self-help back care, my ankles and legs get a lot more attention than they used to. Strong ankles and legs give us mobility and balance.

Mobility is a precious gift and our little feet are where the rubber meets the road. But the ankles and legs are what make us move. The ankles and legs  need flexibility and strength to carry our weight and do fun things.

This is one reason that walking is so good for us. If you do nothing but take an extended walk regularly, your health will benefit greatly and you are protecting your mobility. I remember on a trip to Europe how hard it was at first to do all the walking. Since I wasn’t used to it at the time, my legs tired easily. As I walked more I felt better and got stronger.

Restless leg syndrome almost always benefits from exercising the legs. Extended sitting without taking a break and walking around is not good for the legs.

Here’s some easy things to do:

  • Ankle circles are really great. Just move the ankles clockwise, then counter clockwise as you sit on the couch or at your desk.
  • Point and flex your toes. This also builds calf muscle.
  • Point your toes and then stretch the toes further with your hands.
  • Bicycling on a real bike, an exercise bike, or even in the air.
  • Balance on one leg at a time. You can do this while you stand in line… just ignore the stares.
  • Squat and keep the heels as close to the ground as possible. This may be hard to do at first, but don’t give up.

There are many leg and ankle exercises that feel good and strengthen legs and ankles, like lunges or quad stretches.  Movement and repetition will strengthen  legs and improve balance over time.

Bottom line is to just keep the legs moving to keep grooving.

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