Barefoot running may be better than wearing sneakers, but our feet are more accustomed to wearing shoes. To make the transition into barefooting easy, Mark's Daily Apple offers some foot exercises and a way to reduce tightness in your calves with a lacrosse ball.Photo by Liji Jinaraj.
Use the lacrosse ball, Mark writes, to reduce the tightness in your feet (the plantar fascia, to be exact, which supports the foot arch):
Place a lacrosse ball on the floor, stand on it, and roll around. Just explore your foot with the ball. It'll be really painful at first, but that's how you know it's working. Roll each foot twice a day for about five minutes. Be sure to flex your foot and move your toes around as you roll over tight spots -- try to put your foot through every possible range of motion it might see in the real world.
For your calf muscles, sit on the ground and roll the ball under your calf. After about a week of these exercises, your legs and feet may be better primed for barefooting.
Several foot-strengthening exercises are also offered in the article, such as holding an object between your toes and squeezing them together. The entire post is a must-read for new barefoot runners, since there are also valuable tips on form and how to get started (some of which we've also previously mentioned with other barefoot running advice).
Are you a barefooter? Share your tips or suggestions with us in the comments.
How to Prepare for Barefooting [Mark's Daily Apple]