Why Develop Better Ankle Flexibility And Strength?

There are lots of limitations that can get in the way of your good fitness. One of the biggest involves getting taken out of the exercise game because you’ve injured yourself. While most people understand the need to warm up and move before getting too active, the ankles are often overlooked.

If you think about just how much your ankles must do during the course of an average day or just a light workout, it becomes clear that your flexibility and strength in them is vital. For most people, some very simple measures can improve ankle flexibility and reduce the chances of strain, stress and injury.

So, what does it take to promote proper ankle flexibility and strength? Try these things:

  • Basic, no resistance stretches – When warming up and stretching out before exercising, pay some attention to your ankles. Your movement preparation (mobilized warm up for your body) should include flexion and extension of your feet. In other words, pointing the toes away from your shin and flexing your toes toward your shins. A good movement preparation protocol will always include this movement.
  • Slight resistance stretches during the workout – To also stretch out the hamstring a bit while boosting ankle flexibility try a reverse toe touch. Open your hips up as wide as needed and touch the ground with your fingers and thumbs. The wider your stance the easier the stretch. Keep contact with the ground with your hands while you bend your knees, when you extend up you should feel the stretch in the back of your legs. Remember, stretching shouldn’t  be painful. You’re attempting to mobilize and actively heat the tissue and muscles up on your body.

Other Ways to Safeguard Ankle Health

There’s more to keeping ankles flexible and safe from injury than just stretching out. To avoid problems when working out or just maneuvering daily life, consider these tips:

  • Wear comfortable, supportive shoes – Make sure to get a good pair of shoes that not only provides a proper fit, but also proper ankle support. This is especially important for runners who can put a serious beating on the ankles otherwise.
  • Go barefoot or wear some Vibrams or other minimalist shoes. This approach will most likely mobilize and strengthen your feet which will serve your ankles well. There are times when you will have to wear a supportive cross training shoe, but often you can train barefoot or with minimal support to increase blood flow and build strength in your feet and ankles.
  • Build up overall leg strength with integration then isolation – Make sure to build up the muscles that support the ankles. This means working from the bottom up (feet and ankles) and then from the top down (hips, quads, and hamstrings). Consult a professional if you want suggestions and guidance on how best to achieve overall length strength and flexibility.
  • Don’t overdue and overtrain – Make sure that your workouts that involve the legs are appropriate and within reason. Don’t run for an extra five miles, for example, if the calves are burning and ankle pain is evident. The blood flow and regeneration (healing) to the feet and ankles is slow because it’s furthest from your heart. Use good sense and you will thrive!

Good ankle flexibility and strength will enhance your workouts. Be sure to treat your feet and ankles right. For more tips on improving flexibility and strength, consult a trainer or a professional at your gym. Your body was meant to last a lifetime when you take care of it properly.

About the Author

Marin health and fitness expert, John Spongberg is the founder of Personal Training in Marin as well as an accomplished author, speaker and life coach. He is dedicated to helping people reach their optimum level of fitness, health and body satisfaction through a unique, comprehensive whole-person approach, customized to each client.

Mr. Spongberg creates a successful experience for individuals who are ready to take the next step to, once and for all, achieve the extraordinary health, vitality and body they’ve long been dreaming of. Your satisfaction is personally guaranteed 100% or your money back!

If you’re ready, you can reach Mr. Spongberg at (415) 785-4826 or visit his website at www.PersonalTrainingInMarin.com where you can download your free copy of his special health and fitness report, The Truth About Losing Weight

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