I think this might be the closet to fireworks I'm going to see this year. Here in Tucson, we have and have had so many fires that it's just not a good idea to have them. The danger won't stop some people from foolishly popping some off where they shouldn't but I hope everyone has a safe and Happy 4th.
I'm keeping my pets inside. Cray-ray doesn't go bonkers being kept in like my DS Oreo did but he's still not too happy.
One of my favorite songs for this holiday was a blusey song titled "Too Much Bar B Que", by Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows. While I, myself, have never had too much bar b q, the song is fun and a great stretch song. Take a listen and enjoy.
On to business!
I am of the opinion that you need to address the postural alignment, balance and stability of the body prior to adding external weight to increase their strength. I've often said that "no one's going to care if you can lift 50# dumbbells and do bicep curls if you stand and walk like Quasimodo." Now, I'll grant you that there was a different kind of physical issue at play with the hunchback but I think you get my drift, right?!? Right.
There are a number of ways to begin to improve one's posture and balance including standing on 1 foot but there may be more to be looked at and adjusted to get the ball rolling.
Watching how the foot strikes when 1 is walking, kinetic alignment, etc. Bio-mechanics of the foot (foundation) can play havoc if out of sync. I've even noticed in myself that my L foot doesn't flex as well as I believe it should. Damn my flat feet! Makes it tough to do lunges if the back foot wont flex properly. So who wants to do lunges? Well, no one in their right mind, right? Wrong, every step you take, (go ahead start singing) is a mini-lunge. Every time you step down a stair or a curb you're doing a small lunge. So, lunges, like squats, are important, are functional and should be done regularly. Sorry folks but it's true. Pitiful sigh of sadness inserted here.
So, what can you do to improve foot strength, ROM (range of motion) ie. flexion you may ask. The good news is there are some things you can do.
Calf raises, double and single-leg versions. But you really need to raise the heel high not just a slight heel suspended over the floor.
Flex & Point the foot. Utilizing a rubber resistance band against the foot. Don't forget the lateral and medial flexion or ankle rotations.
Yamuna Foot Wakers & Savers, I love these things and use them on my clients.
Beamfit Beam, my new favorite toy. I've loved this beam since I was 1st introduced to it some years ago. I now have 2 of them.
Just standing on this beam makes your feet begin to work as well as your entire body. Getting up on it makes your core musculature kick into high gear. You add the movement to it and your working like crazy. You break into a sweat all the while moving slowly through a series of movements in place and eventually along the beam.
You can do movements standing, sitting, kneeling or lying on belly or back on this beam. Ideally you do start standing though. Just that. Shifting to try to balance your weight equally on both legs/feet. Next, using your breath, raising and lowering the arms, moving the head, rotations, etc. prove to be very challenging. Just ask my sis. She gets so frustrated sometimes.
I often have to remind her that tapping down onto the floor is NOT bad balance as long as its her foot and not her face thats tapping the floor. Its actually good balance. Your body's proprioception, internal communication, is working to keep you upright.
You'll immediately notice how tough this is to do. All kinds of internal work begins to engage as you merely stand on it. Start adding slow, controlled movements and Whoopie! You start to heat up. You can work up quite a sweat on the beam.
You do start to improve rather rapidly and as you do you begin to add more movements, slowly. In time the whole thing is like choreography. The movements link together, 1 after the other without stopping, like a dance.
Like I said, muscles begin to heat up. Muscles you may not even know existed in your body. Some you may not have used correctly in a long, long time for whatever reason. Injury, mechanical mis-use, illness. Most of us have had some sort bio-mechanical issue that has caused us to change our proper movement thus creating imbalances in our body. This beam work can help return the body's correct usage. But remember, it does take time to stick!
Keep dancin' people and have a fabulous 4th of July. Peace out.