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Are You a Runner with Flat Feet? Here is a Step-by-Step Tutorial for Strengthening Your Flat Feet

Are You a Runner with Flat Feet? Here is a Step-by-Step Tutorial for Strengthening Your Flat Feet

Are you a runner who has flat feet? If so, then it might be a problem when it comes to running. While many flat footers out there are able to run many miles without much sweat, having flat feet definitely increases your chance of developing feet and joint problems later down the line, especially if you continue to run on them.

However, there are ways to strengthen your feet to counterbalance the negative effects from flat-footedness. In this article, we’ll show you how to strengthen flat feet, so that the next time you decide to go on a run, you won’t have to worry about developing foot problems.

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    Things you will need for this step-by-step tutorial:

    You will be surprised to find out that you won’t actually need a lot of items for flat feet strengthening exercises. Even better, all of these items can be easily found in your home, so that you won’t have to spend tons of money on fancy equipment. Here are the items you will need:

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    • A towel: From a dishrag to a bath towel, any sort of cloth towel will do for exercises such as toe scrunching. Just make sure that you would be willing to place your feet on top of it!

    • A can: Instead of throwing away that soft drink can right after you finish it, consider using it for your next flat-feet strengthening exercise. You can also find similar items such as bottles or plastic cups. As long as it’s an object that your feet can grip on to, then it will work perfectly.

    • Stairs: If you live in a house with stairs, then you can use these for your toe-arch exercises. However, if you don’t have stairs to use, there’s no reason to worry: you can also use the sidewalk curb outside or make your own elevated surface with a pile of thick books to stand up on.

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    Step-by-step tutorial for strengthening flat feet

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      With these three items, you can do a variety of different flat-feet strengthening exercises to build your arches. Here are some of them:

      1. Toe scrunches:

      This is a no-brainer, as it only involves using a towel and your toes to crumple it up. This particular exercise will flex and work out the small muscles inside your feet, thereby making them stronger and more flexible in the arch.

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      Begin by spreading out the towel on the floor, then placing your feet directly on top of it. Make sure that your feet are completely flat over the towel. Using only your toes, slowly move them inwards toward the ball of your foot, in the meantime moving the fabric toward you as well. The towel will start wrinkling while it happens. Return to resting position afterwards, then repeat until you feel a workout in the muscles.

      2. Can-rolling exercise:

      As its name suggests, this strengthening exercise relies on a can (or a cylinder object) to produce good results for your flat arches. In a way, this workout is more of a massage than anything, for it pushes out any tension at the bottom of your feet while also stretching out and preventing soreness from happening.

      Similar to the towel scrunches, start by placing the can on its side on the floor before placing one of your feet on it, the arch directly on top of the object itself. Roll the can towards and away from you, making sure to add some downward pressure to relieve any tightness in your foot. Repeat with the other foot until both of your feet are relaxed.

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        3. Stair Raises:

        Not only do stair raises improve arch strength, but they also work out the calves. They also help improve balance, for your feet will be slightly elevated above the ground, thereby training your body to remain stable.

        First, start by placing the balls of your feet on the stairs, letting your arches and heels dangle off of the edge. In a slow and controlled fashion, raise your arches and heels as if you’re trying to stand on your tiptoes, before lowering them back down to starting position. Repeat the process until you feel a workout in your arches and calves.

        Conclusion 

        Altogether, having flat feet doesn’t mean the end of your running career. By taking steps to strengthen and increase flexibility in your arches, you can prevent injuries and other problems from happening while running in the future. Have a good workout!

        Featured photo credit: Jessica Natalie/http://causeiloverunning.com/ via causeiloverunning.com

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        Jessica Natalie

        Teacher, Runner

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        Last Updated on September 28, 2020

        The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

        The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

        At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

        Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

        One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

        When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

        So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

        Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

        This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

        Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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        When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

        Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

        One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

        Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

        An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

        When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

        Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

        Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

        We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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        By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

        Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

        While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

        I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

        You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

        Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

        When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

        Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

        Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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        Con #2: Less Human Interaction

        One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

        Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

        Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

        This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

        While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

        Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

        Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

        This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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        For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

        Con #4: Unique Distractions

        Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

        For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

        To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

        Final Thoughts

        Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

        We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

        More About Working From Home

        Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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