The short answer is, "because it's the key to building strong feet". But do you know why it's important to strengthen your feet?
Studies have been conducted on the impact of foot alignment on knee, hip and back pain (1). There's overwhelming evidence of the correlation between the strength of your foot muscles and knee or back pain. Flat feet or high arches are indications of either an overdeveloped or underdeveloped muscle in the foot and lower leg, which impacts your lower body alignment.
In other words, strengthening your feet leads to improved leg and spine alignment which leads to improved mobility and decreased leg and back pain.
Feet Are Your Foundation
At Lucid Vitality, we promote whole body health and we treat your feet as the foundation for a strong body. Much like a skyscraper, the stability of the body starts where the body meets the ground.
We want our clients to remain as close to the ground as possible. Being in direct contact with the ground and without additional shoe support helps to strengthen the muscles in the feet and reduces the possibility of injury.
This is why we run our classes barefoot.
In addition to working out barefoot, we also encourage our clients to try additional exercises at home to improve foot strength.
Short Foot Exercises
Have you tried short foot exercises? These exercises are especially helpful for clients with flat or low arches. The exercise is focused on strengthening the muscles in your arch, which could also help with foot pain.
Here's how it's done:
Starting Position: Sit on a chair with your feet on the floor.
The Exercise: Keeping your toes relaxed, shorten your foot as if you are drawing your toes towards your heels. The arch in your foot will rise up like a small mound while your toes stay relaxed and in contact with the ground.
Don't Forget: Keep your toes as relaxed as possible to isolate the muscles underneath your arch.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine has conducted studies on the positive impact of short foot exercises on foot strength (2) and has proposed that physical therapy programs tend to focus on finding external means for supporting our feet instead of encouraging patients to strengthen foot muscles to improve function.