Active Recovery

Strengthen Your Feet, Ankles, and Legs With This Alphabet Workout

Kara Jillian Brown

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Photo: Stocksy / Lumina

Are you regularly exercising your feet? By working on your lower extremities—including your ankles and legs—you can affect your balance, posture, and overall health. Whether it’s balancing on one foot or walking in heels, working your lower leg is relatively simple, and can be done just about anywhere.

Podiatrist Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, and Vionic Innovation Lab member, says one way to strengthen your feet and ankles is as easy as writing the ABC’s—literally. She recommends drawing the letters of the alphabet with your big toe.

“This is really good for the overall strengthening of all four major muscle groups in your lower leg,” Dr. Sutera says. Quick anatomy lesson: there are four muscle areas located in your lower leg. The tibialis anterior in the front, the tibialis posterior on the inside, the calf at the back, and the peroneal on the outside. All four of these are worked when you do the alphabet exercise. “These muscles promote stability, prevent sprains, prevent falls, and prevent overuse injuries from exercising,” she says.

You should perform this exercise seated, so feel free to do this while you’re typing away at your desk, or chilling on the couch. Extend your leg straight in front of you with your knee locked, and your toes pointed toward the ceiling. Draw the letters of the alphabet using your big toe as the pointer, but keep in mind that all of the motion is actually happening at the ankle joint. Repeat twice on each leg.

Dr. Sutera recommends adding this into a fitness routine on recovery days, so about two to three times a week for four to six weeks.

While you’re giving some love to your feet, don’t forget your wrists:

This is a ballerina’s routine for keeping her feet strong and flexible, and everything you need to know about plantar fasciitis

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