Smart Moves for Your Feet & Ankles

Lisa Robins

Diabetes can put your bones—and your balance—at risk. These gentle exercises can help improve your balance, flexibility and gait.

Strengthen Your Toes and Ankles
Stand tall with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, your arms extended at your sides or grasping your hips.  

Exhale and lift your heels off the floor as you shift your weight to your toes and press up tall to the ceiling. Lower both heels to the floor and repeat 25-30 times.

Trainer tip: Pause for a few seconds at the top and slowly lower with ease and control.

Improve Balance
Stand tall, holding onto a chair or sturdy object.  

Keep heels on the floor and raise the front of your feet up toward the front of your lower leg. Pause and hold position for 10 seconds. Lower your toes back down to the floor and repeat.

Too hard? Start by holding the stretch just 3-5 seconds. Add more time as balance and strength increase.

Boost Ankle Stability

Stand tall with heels under your hips. If you need to, hold a chair to help balance. Raise right knee until bent at a 90-degree angle.  

As you balance on your left foot, slowly lower your body. Repeat 15-20 times on each leg.

Too easy? Grab a set of dumbbells and perform squats with weighted resistance.

Lengthen Your Calves
Sit tall on a mat with your legs extended straight and your back tall. Slowly reach your arms to your toes, as you gently lengthen your legs and spine. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds, slowly return to the starting position and repeat 15 times.

Back pain a problem? Try bending your knees slightly as you lower your torso to your legs.


April 2014