The expression “putting your best foot forward” means to try your best.  I think it is a positive way to look at exercise. It lends to the idea that each day we will go forward with self-improvement.

A key to self-improvement in fitness is to understand how our body moves through an exercise and the best place to start is with our feet! 


The Importance Of Foot Fitness


Our feet are perhaps the most neglected complex structure in our body, and it’s not until they start saying “hello” do we realize how important it is to have happy feet. 

Healthy feet and toes are the foundation for a stable, well-balanced movement pattern – i.e., walk, running or exercising.

Our foot muscles support the arch, keep our toes aligned and straight. They help us to transfer our body weight from one leg to the other or stand on one leg. 

Lack of adequate foot muscle strength can contribute to the soft tissues beneath our feet (e.g., the plantar fascia) becoming overloaded, strained and eventually injured.

The foot its self has amazing anatomy and bio-mechanics. Each foot contains 26 bones and 33 joints with more than 100 muscles and tissues that work together to keep us on the move.

When our foot comes in contact with the ground it triggers a reflex action in the necessary muscles to activate depending on what we want to do, that is, walk, run, squat, etc. Therefore the foot is a switch for many muscles to initiate a movement pattern.

In strength training, the essential points of the foot’s contact with the ground is considered to be the “Foot Tripod.”



Understanding The Foot Tripod


Structurally speaking, you can think of the foot similar to a camera tripod. Imagine your heel, the ball of the big toe and ball of the little toe, as the three points of the tripod.

When these three contact points are level they “anchor” the body to the ground (when barefoot) or inside your shoes when standing, walking, running, etc. 

In theory, the tripod of the foot is simple, but in practice, it is dependent on many other parts of the body, for example;

  • Posture alignment
  • Symmetry and flexibility of the joints in the foot, ankle, knee, hip and other joints throughout the body.
  • Muscle strength to control the movement and stability of the legs on the foot tripod.


When we think about how much we need and use our feet, it is strange that it remains the last body part we think of exercising. 

I’m not sure if there are any foot strengthening classes available or a “foot reformer” similar the Pilates reformer that can help with building foot strength…Hmm something to think about. 


5 minute Foot Strength Workout

In absence of alternatives for building foot strength, and its importance for whole body fitness, here is a short foot workout for you to try:

  • Warm up with foot circles: Lift your foot off the floor, and draw 15 – 20 circles in the air with your big toe, change the direction of drawing the circles for another 15 to 20 times. Repeat for the other foot.
  • Towel curl pick up: Place a long towel on the ground and sit in the chair with your feet flat on the towel. With one foot forward and knee bent at 90 degrees, curl your toes and try to grab the towel with them and scrunch it toward you, release and try and pick up the towel. Repeat 10 times on each foot.
  • Toe splay: Sit in a chair with your feet on the ground. Keep your foot stationary and lift your toes off the floor. Spread them as far apart as you can! Hold for 2-3 seconds. Gently lower your foot to the floor. Repeat 5 times with each foot. (You can exercise both feet at once quite easily with this exercise too).
  • Toe and heel walking: Stand tall with good posture and walk on your toes for 10-20 steps then walk on your heels for 10-20 steps repeat 10 times.
  • Calf stretches: Stand with both hands on a wall. Extend one leg behind you and lean your body forward without bending the back knee until you feel a stretch in your back calf. Maintain the stretch and relax. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on for the other leg.


Incorporating these exercises into your day will help you get the most from your fitness programs – after all we are only as strong as our weakest link, and we don’t want weak feet!

I would love to hear from you, have you had problems with your feet? What did you do to overcome them?  Let me know in the comments below. Or you can send me an email any time!

Square Box Fitness, also has an easy 9 minute exercise program, that will improve your cardio fitness, core strength and muscle tone. If you are interested in giving it a go, I have included the link below so you can start to get fit and feel fitter today!



Live well with fitness!


Written by Anna: Nutritionist and Exercise Therapist