If you find your feet hurting even when you aren’t walking or running, it could be your ankles. They’re often neglected because nobody thinks about strengthening the joint.
However, your ankles are vital in keeping you stable and safe during your runs and other sorts of exercise. Don’t wait until you feel pain to start doing these ankle strengthening moves.
Though this is a calf toning pose, it also strengthens your ankle as they have to pivot up and down while holding the weight of your body. Do this exercise on a stable surface to prevent twisting your ankle. Once you’re comfortable, you can do it with added weight.
Stand straight with your feet slightly apart. Contract your lower body and core and tip toe. Hold for a second and return to standing. Repeat 50 times. You can stand with your feet together to work on your balance or do single-leg calf raises for a greater burn.
Your front leg bears some of the weight in a high lunge, but it’s your back ankle that reaps the benefits in this pose. By standing on your toes and pushing your heel forward, your ankle gets a deep stretch while it builds strength in a greater range of movement.
Stand straight and take a large step forward with your right foot. Straighten your left knee and bend your right knee. Adjust accordingly so your right knee is at a 90-degree angle and your knee is behind your toes. Reach your arms straight up. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
The high lunge works the front and back of your ankle while the warrior 1 posture works the sides. As you have to turn your back foot to a 45-degree angle, the outer ankle is stretched and strengthened.
Start in a lunge pose. Take a small step forward with your back foot. Rotate it 45 degrees outwards to press the outer edge and heel to the ground. Keep your arms up with your palms touching. Look up and breathe. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on other side.
Don’t think a squat works your feet? Try it! You’ll notice that after a while, your feet start shifting and your toes start wriggling. All this is part of your body’s balancing technique, and your ankle is what stabilises those feet movements.
Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Clasp your hands in front of your chest. Keep your body upright as you bend your knees and lower your hips. Keep your knees behind your toes as you send more weight to your heels. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.
This article first appeared on shape.com.sg.