Knees, hips, feet are the easy targets when it comes to injuries while working out for beginners. Without much experience of holding the right exercise form, or knowing which workouts to do, injuries are far more common when you start out. But let’s not get bogged down by a sprain or a pull. It’s all part of the learning experience. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to keep your muscles prepped for running.

It’s essential to look into some basic exercises to make sure that you are injury proof by the time you are working out regularly. As invincible as you may seem to yourself, there’s no harm in a little precaution. One of the most injury-prone areas in your body would be the foot. As the part of your body that absorbs the most weight and pressure while running, jumping and working out, your feet are an anatomical wonder, but that does not mean you can take their fitness for granted.

Don't take your feet for granted
Don’t take your feet for granted

Here are a few simple exercise routines that will fortify your feet from injuries such as Achilles tendinitis or plantar fasciitis, the most chronic foot injuries. It’s not about concentrating on the foot itself, but about all-round strengthening which means everything from shins to calves to ankles. A lot of injuries come from not warming up or cooling down after your workout, which is why these two essentials are mainstays of all our fitness apps – mobiefit RUN, mobiefit WALK and mobiefit BODY!

Pay attention to your calves
After your workout, if you feel the hamstring, calf and ankle muscles being painful, it means you need to stretch them out after your exercise. Stand on a step with forefeet on the edge with the back half of your foot hanging outside the step. Push up with both feet into a calf raise.

Next, lift one leg off the step and lower your other leg so that your heel drops below the step. Take up to 10 seconds to lower it. Return to start; repeat 10 times on each foot. This will make sure your calf muscles are well conditioned and as a result, can absorb much of the shock that ripples out from your foot.

Your toes need exercise too
You might not think about it but your toes are doing a lot of hard work when taking you from point A to point B or when you are climbing up steps. It’s natural that they might be sore after your first few workouts. The relief comes from from stretching the plantar fascia, the heel and bottom of the foot. Grab your toes and gently pull them back, hold this position for 10 counts and repeat 10 times, before switching feet. This is a crucial post-run stretch.

Another way to ensure your toes are well-oiled is the heel walk. Walk on your heels for a minute, then switch to walking on your toes. Do this twice. Your feet are a network of muscles and it’s important to exercise all of it to maintain the great flexibility they offer.

Walk on your toes to strengthen your feet muscles
Heel and toe walks strengthen your foot muscles (Image: Pop Sugar)

Practical ways to work out your feet
Sit with your feet flat on the floor and tap each foot 50 times. Get into a rhythm but make things a little more difficult by trying to keep your heels down. Notice how this mimics the running landing action. Next up, elevate one foot and write the alphabet with your toes, and feel your ankle flexing and rotating. Go from A to Z, before switching feet.

These may seem like really easy and non-strenuous exercises, but trust us when we say that your feet need all the protection and strength they can get. For improved longevity, it’s vital to take care of them. Run right and religiously do the stretches and you’ll be running a long, long time.

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