Summer months is always a time when we naturally pick up the pace and move more, whether that’s through day trips out or just because the weather is nicer, we are outside more. I’m someone who needs to go outside and move everyday whatever the weather. But the reality of moving in a specific way apart from day to day tasks can be daunting, we might all think about it lots, but the actual doing of it, can take some extra focus.
Throughout August I want to offer some real quick ways to integrate movement into your everyday that will allow a daily habit to be created. I’ll also provide some extra info about why we might want to support or exercise that part of the body.
Week one: Ankle | 5th August
Why start with the ankles? Ankles are one of our main joins that take the stress and strain of our whole body as we go about our day. They help keep us stable, work our core and pivot with changes of direction and motion as needed. Here’s some other key facts to remember about ankles –
- A major function is proprioception, when neutral transmitters in and around the joint respond to signals from the brain that enable you to identify where the ankle is and how well balanced you are on it.
- Improving the flexibility of your ankle will significantly help with your strength, squat and reduce injury.
- The ankle is a hinge joint and works on one plane of motion – dorsiflexion and plantarflexion. Plantarflexion is the movement downwards – pointing your toes like a ballet dancer. Dorsiflexion is the movement up, when your toes go towards the sky whilst your heel is on the ground.
- Strong dorsiflexion means the front of the shin can move forward during a movement, which helps with crucial body alignment and application of force.
Exercises to try –
If you can do the 2 exercises 2 – 3 times a day. You will start to feel a noticeable difference in your ankle strength.
- Flexion and extension of ankle: sitting on the floor extend your legs out in front of you, alternately flex your foot to the ceiling and then point it down to the ground. Push to the point that you feel a stretch. Aim for 10 reps flexing, 10 reps extending. This can also be done on a chair/sofa. What ever you choose, ensure you’re sat up straight and your shoulders are down.
- Heel raises: ensure you are standing up straight, place your feet hip width apart and take a slight bend. This is the position that you will hold during the exercise. Keep your knees and rest of body still, lift up your as far as you can, pushing the top of your foot forward. Lower back down. Do 10 reps. This can also be done on a step, by dropping heels below the top of the step and then raising them up.