6 Easy Ankle Strengthening Exercises
If you’re anything like me, your ankles take a lot of abuse. Let’s face it, these joints are made up of some very complicated yet fragile engineering and are among the used, stressed, and even overworked parts of the body. Just standing up and walking requires ankles to play a major role. Then there’s higher impact activities like jumping, dancing, and running. It doesn’t take much to roll an ankle and then the full force of your weight and momentum can cause serious damage.
Therefore, doesn’t it make sense to ensure your ankles are stronger and in fine working order so as to recover from injury better or even avoid problems altogether? You don’t need to be an athlete or a weekend warrior to strengthen your ankles through exercise. In fact, you should probably exercise them more if you’re not.
Try these simple and effective ankle strengthening exercises to make every part of your day better. If you have an ankle injury or tendonitis, be sure to check first with your professional therapist and even use a supportive wrap of kinesiology tape to ease discomfort and enhance your recovery.
Take a seat in a chair and place a pile of rolled up socks in front of you. Using your toes, pick up the socks one at a time and move them 12 inches closer to you. Then pick them up again (one at a time) and move them back to their starting point. Switch feet and do the same thing again.
Take a seat and spread out an unfolded towel on the floor in front of you. Using your toes and starting with the side of the towel closest to you, slowly begin to scrunch up the towel, dragging the far side closer until the entire thing resembles an accordion. Repeat with the other foot. Try it with your heel on the floor and with your heel raised.
The Slo-Mo Pogo
Balance training is great for strengthening ankles and their surrounding muscles. Try standing on one leg for 30 seconds and then switch to the other. Then try it for a minute. Once successful, repeat the process, only this time, hop once on that one leg every 10 seconds or so. Another challenge is to bring back those rolled up socks, place them together, and balance on that uneven pile.
This is very simple. Just lift the front of one foot off the floor and walk around the room using only the heel of your foot for balance. Switch feet. Then do it with both.
Have you ever tried to reach for something on the top shelf, only to find you’re too short? Remember that moment on the tips of your toes and repeat it. From a stationary position, slowly raise your heels off the floor as high as you can, using your toes for support. Slowly lower again. Try holding for a few seconds before lowering. As you get stronger, do it on one foot at a time to increase the weight and the gains.
Hand to Foot
Do this seated, or standing if you can manage it without overbalancing (because it will work the other ankle at the same time). Place the palm of your right hand against the outside of your right foot. Then push your hand into your foot, but resist the pushing with the foot. Next, put your hand on the inside of your right foot and repeat the push-resist sequence. Do the same with the left hand and foot.
These ankle strengthening exercises require no fancy equipment, no fuss, and they make a big difference. Use them at different stages of ankle injury recovery or simply build your healthy ankles through them progressively. As I said earlier, consult your care professional if you’re recovering from an injury and consider using the outstanding benefits of kinesiology tape to provide safe support and alignment as you exercise.
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