Whether you enjoy yoga, powerlifting, running, or sport, any activity could benefit from small yet significant strength gains in your feet and ankles. Why is this? Your feet are the place that connects you to the earth! All the strength and power in your hips, thighs, and calves that you work on in the gym or through your sport is wonderful! Let's continue that chain of strength into the ground with some of these simple desk exercises!
What you’ll need for these exercises is your desk (of course), a t-shirt or small towel, and some small bands. Bonus exercise at the end will require some Toe Spacers.
1. Foot Massage with Small Ball (3-5min each foot)
Warm up your strengthening with a small ball massage for your feet! While sitting at your desk, take a small ball and place it under your foot, rolling it around and finding good sensitive knots to target. While you’re working at your desk, massage each foot until it feels more supple. Once supple, move onto the next exercise.
2. Towel or T-Shirt Crawls (1-5min each foot)
Take your small towel or t-shirt and splay your toes, grab the cloth, then pull it towards you. Then push it left, right, all over! Imagine your feet are doing little crunches, working on its “core” to improve its arch.
3. Banded Inversion and Eversion (1-3min for Inversion and Eversion for each foot)
Wrap your band around the chair or desk and put your foot inside. From there bring your foot outwards to strengthen the outside of your foot (this movement is called Eversion). Do this for a few sets, each set until tired!
Take that same band and now let's go inwards (Inversion!) just like in the image below. Same idea, do a few sets, each to fatigue.
4. BONUS: Toe Spacer Cooldown (10-30min)
Once you’ve done your massage and two strengthening exercises, treat your toes! Get a toe-spacer like this one for each of your feet and wear them for about 30min.
Give this series a try 1x/day for 2 weeks and I promise your feet will thank you!
Thanks for reading,
Dr. Marcus Rein PT DPT
“Maybe if I just buy this standing desk, things will be better!”
Does this sound like you? If so, this article is tailor-made for you.
Let's go through many of the questions one-by-one. Maybe some of these will be of help to you if you are considering a standing desk.
Question 1: “Do you think I should get a standing desk?”
Generally speaking, yes! Though my reasoning won't be what you might think. As with any tool, it’s not really about the tool, it's about the intent behind using the tool. For many, the intent of having a stand-up desk is because they have back pain and are looking to stop sitting for most of their day. For others, it’s about improving overall health and wellness by standing more, as standing burns more calories than sitting. It all depends on what your intent is! First, find out exactly why you want a standing desk and then you can figure out why one might be for you (or not!).
Question 2: “What are the main benefits of a standing desk?”
It allows an opportunity for changing your movement patterns throughout your day.
If you were to sit or stand with “perfect posture” at work for an entire year, both would have their own set of problems. For the person who stands all day, their feet would start to really hurt; then possibly their knees or low back. Before long, they’d need to sit!
For the person who sits at work for an entire year, they eventually need to get up because their back and knees start to hurt.
For both parties, it’s not the fact that they are standing or sitting all day in a “perfect posture,” it’s that they need an opportunity to change their position to really feel better!
A standing desk that has the option to be both in a low and high position allows for both of these individuals to either sit or stand depending on how they are feeling. The key for them is more motion throughout the day! The key benefit for a desk that goes up AND down is that you can adjust your body more throughout the day, and more varied motion throughout your day is the KEY to longevity!
Question 3: “Why shouldn’t I get a standing desk?”
So, are standing desks amazing? YES! They are a great tool in the arsenal of a healthy individual. They allow for more movement throughout your day, of which is an absolute blessing! But don’t go thinking that just because you’re standing all day long, you will automatically feel much better. The key is varied motion every day, from both the office, to the yoga mat, to the gym, and to the couch!
More movement is always better.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna get to my stretches after finishing this blog post.
Thanks for reading,
Dr. Marcus PT, DPT
Dr. Danny and staff's views on performance improvement, injury prevention, and sometimes other random thoughts.