Five Exercises to Improve Balance and Get You Moving

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No matter how fit or active you are now, you can always improve! This workout from personal trainer Randi M’s Stretch, Strength and Stamina class is designed for those with arthritis or osteoporosis and is a immersive way to move the body. These five exercises use very little equipment but are a whole lot of fun–and a good workout. All you need is yourself, a bouncy ball, and a chair. Don’t forget water, either!

    1. Using a basketball or beach ball, dribble once with your right hand, once with your left hand, and once together. Keeping the ball bouncing is more challenging than it may seem! Alternate dribbling hands for one minute, and then switch activities. This time, toss your ball up in the air, clap once, and catch it with your right hand. Toss the ball up again, clap, and catch it with your left. Repeat this for one minute. This fun exercise will get the heart rate up a little, as well as work on coordination and balance.
    1. Start by walking in place. Take one foot behind the other then bring it back to front. Repeat with the other leg. Do this for one minute, then walk in place for one minute. Complete this circuit three times for a total-body warm-up!
    1. Do the shuffle! With feet shoulder width apart, alternate tapping each foot a little farther out to the side. Do this for one minute and rest for thirty seconds by walking in place. Complete five times. You’ll feel a stretch in your legs, and may get a little breathless, but this exercise is a great way to encourage balance.
    1. Standing with the edge of a folding chair or dining chair on the back of your knees, slowly squat down until you are in a sitting position. But don’t get too comfortable! Raise yourself back to standing before you have fully settled into your seat. Aim to repeat this five to eight times, adjusting to your body’s individual needs.
    1. Stand like a star, with feet spread and arms straight. Complete seven to ten arm circles on each side. Rest for thirty seconds to a minute before completing another ten on each side. Make doing three sets your goal, but prioritize how your body feels and make adjustments to your routine as needed.

Set some time aside each week to do these exercises, and notice how they make you feel. If you’re anything like the team at Good Feet, you’ll feel energized, strong, and ready for whatever comes your way!

A Plan for Wellness that Works

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Have you ever been faced with a chore you’re dreading? Of course you have! And you’ve probably put it off thinking, “I should do my laundry,” or “I should do the dishes.” But how convinced are you? Are you jumping up to do the dishes right now? Probably not. And that’s because should just isn’t motivating. Instead of propelling you forward, it acts as a weight, slowing you down.

During the new year, internal struggles like this tend to come to the forefront. Setting goals for the new year is a great idea, but how do we put them into practice? How do we get to that space of acting instead of merely thinking (and then sometimes berating, when we don’t do the things we think we should do)?

Good Feet spoke to Margaret Evans, Portland, Oregon based Licensed Professional Counselor, to learn how to transcend old habits and break into being your best you this new year. She explains how shoulds have no positive energy behind them. They drain time, energy, and resources.

For example, maybe you think “I should get more exercise this year.” Dive into this phrase and examine it. Why do you feel this way? Many people make getting more exercise a new year’s resolution because they want to feel healthier. And that want, according to Margaret, is at the crux of personal growth. A want has energy behind it, and by reframing your thoughts, you’ll be able to turn your wants into achievements. Think: “I want to exercise so I can keep healthy.” Or, “I want to exercise so I can go on a hiking trip.”

Then, take it a step further and put yourself–and your goal–in the present. The next time you’re considering going to the gym or taking a hike, make it clear to yourself that the activity isn’t something you should do, it’s something you choose to do because you want to. Say, “I choose to go to the gym today because I want to feel invigorated.” Or “I choose to take a walk because being healthy feels good.” You can also say, “I enjoy eating healthy because it makes me feel better.”

By reframing your language and putting yourself and your goal in the present, you’re not just planning to achieve, you ARE achieving. Now, what do you choose to accomplish this year?

Walkin’ Through a Winter Wonderland

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Winter can be a slippery time, in car and on foot. But that doesn’t mean you need to stay cooped up. This winter, instead of staying in, don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in the season. Good Feet is giving the following tips to help you make the most of your experience and make sure you can give yourself the gift of preparedness when you embark on your own winter adventure, whether that’s building a snowman or going skiing.

  • The chilly winter air–and the heating devices we take advantage of to chase it away–can have a drying effect on the whole body. Although we may think to apply lotion to our arms and legs, we may not think all the way down to our feet. But they need moisture too! For maximum absorption, designate a pair of socks to wear after you apply lotion. The socks will help improve absorption as well as keep lotion from getting all over the floor!

 

  • Comfort is important every time of the year.  In the summertime, feet frequently have to battle with flip flops, which offer abundant fresh air but not a lot of support to the foot. In the wintertime, it’s a different struggle: slippers. Some slippers look comfy and cute, but many offer no support whatsoever. Good Feet likes Giesswein house shoes, which have a removable foot bed that you can easily slip your arch supports into. The natural, breathable, boiled wool keeps you cozy without letting you get too hot.

 

  • Feet tend to get bundled up in the winter…and stay bundled up. But don’t forget to look at your toes. Even though they may not be as exposed to the elements as they usually are, it’s important for them to get some love too. Keep your toenails well trimmed and wear socks that are appropriate for the weather. Wool and polyester blend socks are perfect for winter wear and will help keep your toes warm and dry.

 

  • Protect the shoes that protect your feet. Winter brings water, both in frozen and liquid form. The shoes you wear will determine whether or not your feet stay dry when you’re out and about in the elements. Consider giving your shoes a little a help combating the elements with a water and stain protector.

 

This December, get out and enjoy walking through your own winter wonderland with these tips for keeping your feet healthy and warm. Good Feet can help! Stop by a store to check out our Total Foot Repair cream, which can improve circulation, help with plantar fasciitis, neuropathy, and cracked skin. A pair of merino wool FIT socks from Good Feet will complete the pampering. And Good Feet’s spray-on shoe shield can help shield your shoes so they can keep shielding you!

Oh, and before we forget to include the most important winter tip, here it is: hot cocoa and feet by the fire is the best way to finish up any winter adventure!

Snowday! A Gift for your Body and Mind

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This winter, give yourself the gift of good health with some good old fashioned fun. Nordic skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing are all great ways to get involved outside this winter. Sara H. of Solitude Mountain Resort talked to Good Feet about the exciting world of snow sports and the many ways they can boost both mind and body. The benefits of these winter activities are multifold. Cold air encourages us to get moving and get our heart rates up so we can stay warm. We burn more fuel, or fat, when it’s cold out. And that’s on top of the fuel we already burn doing the activity itself. Also, skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing engage muscles that aren’t often targeted by other forms of exercise, like those in the feet and wrists. Soft snow helps ease impact, making these activities a good activity for many fitness levels. And, of course, being outside offers stress release as well as an overall boost to feelings of well being.

To give yourself the best experience, start small and be reasonable. You may be used to taking five-mile hikes in the summertime, but things move differently on snow. Go in with a learning mindset, and adjust to the different pace these winter activities provide, whether that’s going faster on skis or slower snowshoes. And remember that a lesson is always helpful! Sara recommends seeking out certified instructors and using a one-on-one lesson as an investment in a lifetime of winter outdoor recreation. Lessons will help you develop good form from day one.

Good form is essential to enjoying your time on the snow, both short and long term. Because many people choose to rent the equipment required for these activities, it’s important to make sure you are sized properly. Look for footwear that connects properly to your equipment and is comfortable. Boots should fit snugly but should not cause pinching, pain, or numbness. Proper support throughout the foot bed is essential, and arch supports can help keep the body aligned and keep the body in good form. Rental shop staff can also be helpful resources and answer questions about the fit and comfort of your footwear.

Your snowboard and ski boots have the important job of protecting your feet, which are the foundation to these winter sports. By taking care of the feet properly, you’re giving yourself the ability to partake in these winter activities year after year. Sara notes “skeletal alignment is integral to safety and continual improvement of on-snow skills. With the feet at the literal base of the skeleton, foot care is crucial for enjoying your day on the snow and progressing to the next ability level.”

While you’re learning to ski, snowboard, or snowshoe, you’ll be learning about so much more than that, too. Most terrain is progressive and increases incrementally in difficulty — giving you something to aspire to along the way. Because we ski, snowboard, and snowshoe in the winter elements, these activities also teach us to be aware of our surroundings and flexible with our plans when conditions become unsafe.

When you set out, evaluate your goals for the day. Are you there to have fun? Raise your heart rate? Take in spectacular views? Spend time in nature or with friends? Each person’s measure of success may be different, but winter outdoor recreation has so much to offer — there’s truly something for everyone. Pay attention to your body and the weather conditions, and enjoy the season!