It’s vacation time and you are so excited! You are heading to a tropical location with the most beautiful beaches on the planet. You can feel the sun touching your skin while you walk barefoot on the beautiful white sand and hearing the waves crashing down. Add a margarita to the dream and it feels like paradise.
Walking on the beach is a great way to get exercise and can be great for your feet. If you are used to walking barefoot on any surface, walking on the beach can be awesome. However, if you never walk barefoot, or wear shoes most of the time, walking on the beach can be torture on your feet about day 2 of your vacation. This can ruin your dream vacation and none of us want that,
Wearing shoes, especially shoes with arch supports and heels on any height, can actually cause the muscle in your feet to atrophy. I know, I know, we have been told since birth that good shoes have arch supports and a heel because our feet need them. The truth of matter is, our feet would be fine without them. In fact, your feet would be better off without them. The more heel support you have, the more likely you will walk heel to toe which increases the impact on your heel every time you take a step.
To prevent your feet from ruining your vacation here a few things you can do to get ready for your beach walk.
1- Sitting in a chair, cross one leg over another. Use your thumb to soften the arch of your foot. Your foot should feel as soft and thin as your hand so it can grip the ground as you walk. If you cannot cross your legs, sit in a chair, place a golf ball under the arch of your feet. Use the ball to find sore spots on the bottom of your foot. Don’t just roll the ball around. Be deliberate and look for the sore spots. When you find one, don’t increase the pressure, just maintain the pressure, breathe out and mentally relax the arch. Next move on to the next spot.
2- Use your fingers to press and rub between your bones on top of your foot. Begin at the toes and slide up to your ankle. This frees up your feet to spread which will improve your balance and the ability to grip the ground. If you feel soreness, stop and maintain the pressure, breathe out, and mentally relax the muscle.
3- Sit on the floor with your back against the wall.If you cannot sit on the floor, sit in a hard back chair, no rocking chair, and place one foot on an ottoman. Place a yoga strap. belt, or rope around the ball of your foot. No elastic bands here because your will not get a good stretch. Make sure your back is 90 degrees to your leg as you began to pull your toes back toward you. Do not use your leg muscles, only your arms. Hold 3-5 seconds and repeat 8-10 times. Next rotate your foot inward and repeat the stretch. Finally rotate your foot outward and repeat again. This is the only calf stretch I have seen that will stretch all 4 calf muscles. This will prevent arch soreness, knee soreness, and back soreness when walking as you can extend your ankle beyond 90 degrees and use your toes to push off when walking.
Walking on the beach is a great way to relax, hear the surf rolling in, the birds, and feel the sun warming your body. The sand will improve the skin on your feet because it will exfoliate the feet and strengthen the muscles in your feet. Don;t make the same mistake I made. When you begin walking, remember, the distance your walk out, is the distance you must walk back. It seems so simple, but it is easy to forget and overwork your feet. Go out and have a fun day in paradise and enjoy the beach!