Foot & Lower Leg Exercises To Improve Circulation While Working From Home At Your Desk
Are you working a desk job or stuck working from home during a pandemic? Working in a desk job means sitting on your pelvis sometimes 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. If you are one of the lucky ones that work from home reminding yourself to remain physically active can be a challenge.
A common question we often get asked as Podiatrists is how to improve circulation to our feet to prevent foot pain, swelling and improve healing.
The lack of physical activity can impact on your cardiovascular health, your circulation, and small aches and pains. New studies have shown further evidence in showing sitting down for prolonged periods is bad for our health.
According to the International Journal of Obesity, 2017 those who sit at a desk have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease of 2.2% over ten years compared to 1.6% or are 38% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
You can do these simple foot and lower leg exercises from your desk while sitting in a chair even when you are busy working on your computer or in a video call. Try out these Podiatrists recommended exercises to improve your circulation.
Plantar Fascia Foot Massage To Improve Circulation
Plantar fascia foot massage is a helpful exercise for people with plantar fasciitis and also helps with improving blood flow, reducing tension, easing pain and can assist in keeping you more alert.
A common side effect of sitting at a desk for prolonged periods is shortening of the plantar foot ligaments. One of the most common foot problems Podiatrists see in their clinic is Plantar Fasciitis which is characterized by sharp or aching pain under the heel when a person stands up after sitting for a long period of time.
A simple exercise you can do from your desk is to massage the bottom of your foot on a small firm massage ball. Alternatively, you can use a golf ball, a firm tennis ball or hockey ball. The smaller your ball the more targeted relief you can achieve when rolling. The plantar fascia ligaments are broken down into three parts: the medial, central and lateral ligaments. It is important your massage all three when doing this exercise.
Other common foot problems can be alleviated by understanding your foot characteristics and selecting the right footwear for your feet.
Ankle Flexion Exercise To Improve Circulation
The ankle flexion exercise activates the calf muscles to help pump circulation from your feet back to your heart to avoid swelling in the feet.
Sit upright in your office chair. Straighten both your legs so that it is parallel to the floor and hold it in place. Flex your ankles up so your toes are pointing up towards the ceiling and hold for 5 seconds and flex your ankles down so your toes are pointing straight in front of you and hold for 5 seconds. Do it 15 times and repeat every half an hour of sitting down to improve circulation.
Focus on only bending at your ankles and don’t engage other muscle groups.
Writing The Alphabet With Your Toes To Improve Circulation
Writing the alphabet with your toes helps to activate all muscles, tendons and ligaments below your knee.
Sit upright in your office chair. Straighten both your legs so that it is elevated from the floor and hold it in place. Point your toes and write the alphabet in the air making sure you are taking the movement as far as you can to get the most out of the exercise.
Focus on keeping your leg straight and parallel to the ground and engaging the foot and ankle. This exercise can be repeated any time while you are sitting down and provides a small mental break while you play the ABC tune in your head.
Heel And Toe Dips To Improve Circulation
Heel and toe dips exercise also activates the calf muscles to help with venous blood return to the heart.
Sit upright in your office chair. Keep your knees flex at 90 degrees. Feet planted flat on the floor. Now raise your heels off the ground so only your toes are in contact with the floor. Now drop your heels back on the floor and raise your toes off the floor so only your heel is in contact with the floor.
Rock back and forth between your toes and your heel. You should feel your calf muscles shorten when your heels are raised from the floor. There is no need to hold. Repeat and rock back and forth from heel to toe and back 20 times and repeat every 30 minutes.
Your Turn – Include These Foot & Lower Leg Exercises Into Your Daily Routine When Working From Home
So there you have it – 4 very simple foot and lower leg exercises that shouldn’t take out any extra time from your already busy day. Why not make it a habit to include these exercises as part of your daily routine when working from home? We’d love to hear from our fellow SuperWAHMs – comment below if you’ve noticed improvements in your lower leg circulation after following these simple exercises.
Candice Lam is a mother, Podiatrist and chief editor at The Sole Factor and is passionate about sharing trustworthy knowledge to improve patient well-being and has a special interest in managing plantar fasciitis foot pain. With her Podiatrist background she provides insightful shoe and orthotic insole reviews and she has an interest in the latest shoe news and trends. Find out more at https://thesolefactor.com/