Everybody Get's a Calf Stretch!
One of my favorites!
I recommend this for almost all of my clients, first thing. It is not only a foot, ankle and calf stretch, but it influences the whole body in such a positive way.
Neck or shoulder tension? Do a calf stretch. Low back pain? Calf Stretch!
Sometimes I feel like Oprah.
Why do I love it so much? In our culture and society, we live in a way that shortens our entire back line, from how we sit and rest to what shoes we wear on our feet, our entire environment encourages this shortening. How we walk and on what types of surfaces limits our ankles options for movement and we start becoming more and more limited in our ranges of motion. All the leg muscles are beautifully complex, and affect each other, so if we are walking downhill most of our lives (which, hint, hint, most us are if we are wearing shoes with a heel that is elevated) or at best on flat and level ground, our body from the feet up have very limited access to using the other parts of us that are required for traveling ground that is uphill or varied textured surface.
And you remember the song "The foot bones connected to the ankle bone"? Well it's true, and it's true all the way up the chain. Your foot (bones, muscles, ligaments, fascia) are not only connected to your ankle, but the rest for your body, including your neck and shoulders. Without getting too technical, if your lower half of your body has excessive tension in it, it will directly impact the upper half of your body.
And so, enter the Calf Stretch. This move encourages variety of movement in the foot and ankle and the rest of the body.
If you don't have a handy half foam roller, you can use a rolled-up towel or a rolled-up pair of jeans!
In fact, I walked around my parents’ suburban yard and found different places to calf stretch for visual examples! I found stick and small logs, bricks and rocks and blocks and uneven dirt! So many different ways to calf stretch. Remember, variability brings in strength, so doing something different brings healthy change to the body and mind!
Here's a video demonstration of an indoor calf stretch! Try this every day for a week and then see how your body responds!