How often do you thank your feet and legs for keeping you balanced and upright all day, every day? The workhorses of the human body, they are home to a quarter of your bones, with 26 in each foot and can take up to 4 times your body weight. Its no wonder they get tired and achy and need a little attention and TLC every now and again.
A day of rushing around, exercise, hot weather and ill-fitting shoes all put a strain on our feet and legs. Strenuous walking or standing for long periods can be very stressful for the feet and dehydration can affect fluid retention. Poor circulation to the ankles and feet also causes tired, aching limbs.
Swollen feet, painful knees and heavy and tired legs are all signs we need to take a moment to help our lower halves out with some easy exercises, a bit of pampering and supportive skincare products.
We’re here to help, guiding you with some simple yet effective exercises and pick-me-ups and how to soothe and treat dry skin, heel pain and get your feet happy and beautiful again.
HYDRATE. Interestingly, being well-hydrated can actually reduce water retention. Your body is always trying to achieve a healthy balance, so if you're constantly dehydrated your body tends to retain more water in an attempt to prevent water levels from becoming too low resulting in swelling and stiffness in your feet and ankles.
MOVE. Keep moving every hour or so, just a couple of minutes will reduce stiffness and stimulate blood circulation.
EXERCISE. Keep your feet healthy and strengthened, stretch out your legs and help the body pump fluids up from the feet and back towards the heart. Try these simple exercises for better foot and leg health:
Ankle pumping exercises help to pump blood to the heart by muscle contraction and are often used for the relief of leg swelling. They’re as simple as pointing and flexing your feet and creating a hinging motion in your ankles. In a long, straight backed sitting position, or lying down, bend your ankles upwards, as if you're pulling your toes towards you then point your toes away. You can alternate feet or work them simultaneously 10 times each a few times a day will make a difference.
Toe Raise, Point and Curl - Sit straight with your feet flat on the floor. Keep your toes flat on the ground and raise your heels until only the balls of your feet and toes touch the ground. Hold for 4 counts. Point your toes so that only the ends of your big and second toes touch the ground. Hold for 4 counts. Roll your toes under so that the tops of your toes touch the ground. Hold for 4 counts. Repeat.
Take your shoes off and roll a golf or tennis ball back and forth from toes to heel to massage the muscles and work out tension.
Achilles and calf stretch - if you sit at a desk all day without walking around, your knee and ankle joints pretty much stay in one position and calves can get tight and movement restricted. A lunging calf stretch is popular because it can be done anywhere easily. Stand facing a couple of feet away from a wall. Place your hands on the wall for support and step one foot back into a mini lunge, bending your front leg and keeping your back leg straight. Lean into the wall and press your back heel down so it's flat on the ground. The further apart your feet are, the deeper the stretch will be. Repeat on the other side.
POSTURE. Prevent lower back and nerve pain by being mindful of your posture whilst you are standing and walking. Correct distribution of weight in your feet will give your body optimal postural alignment and can ease stress of the knees and hips. Take a moment to study how you stand and find that correct distribution of weight and movement in your feet, experiment with what feels comfortable and supportive for the rest of the body. Be mindful of your footwear. Wearing heels or sneakers can bring the foot into an unnatural shape, enjoy some barefoot time and research best shoes for feet health and wear them when you know you’re in for a non-stop day on your feet.
MASSAGE. Of course, a spa treatment or having someone else rub your tired tootsies would be ideal but, sometimes you have to suck it up and do it yourself. There is no reason why you can’t massage your own feet for a few minutes, use your hands to gently rotate your ankles and flex your feet back and forth before using your thumbs in circular motions on your heel, arch, toes, and ankle. A quick fix that will do wonders for aches and swelling.
REVITALISE. Make a date with AAAHHH! A revitalising foot and limb cream balm, this cooling and refreshing gel-balm is an effective and quick revival product to use anytime you need to ease sore, overworked feet and legs that have been standing far too long. Rich in natural extracts and Mediterranean essential oils of peppermint, clove, lavender, black pepper and clary, AAAHHH! will cool and soften the skin and soothe away aches, plus dandelion will help reduce fluid retention and puffiness.
A great travel companion to use on flights, after a long, hot day sightseeing or using after a workout or run, this instant soother, cooler and softener will become a firm favourite, and one to keep in your bag or desk drawer to cool and boost energy levels when your feet and legs are feeling the stress.
GO EASY ON THE SALT. Eating too much salt can lead to swelling and a feeling of tiredness and aching in your legs. Try and keep your intake to one spoonful throughout the whole day.
NOURISH. Try to get enough nutrients in your diet and eat foods that are full of iron like spinach, broccoli, brown rice and dried fruits.
At the end of the day, when you get home, make some time to give your feet a soothing pedicure to ease those aches and soften the skin.
To begin with, soak your feet in the bathtub, basin or bowl filled with warm water and Epsom salts for 10 to 15 minutes. This will help relax muscles and loosen stiff joints and the salts will aid inflammation and ease pain. For an aromatherapy boost, add a splash of DRIFT AWAY bath and massage oil, a soothing blend of Mediterranean essential oils, including patchouli, lavender, geranium, frankincense, chamomile, sweet almond, myrrh, dill seed and orange. Its beautifully hydrating and helps relieve stress, over-tiredness and will transform your foot soak into a heady spa like experience.
While your feet are still damp, tackle the areas of hard skin by massaging in an exfoliating body scrub to lift away dead skin cells and smooth before rinsing off, use circular movements to invigorate the skin and improve circulation and focus on areas of hard or cracked skin, increasing pressure with your thumbs to work out aches in your foot arches. SUGAR BUFF is a perfect product for massaging away dead skin and stress, the gorgeous texture and hydrating blend of ingredients help with circulation and relaxation. Rinse. Wrapping your feet in a warm towel and elevating them on a stool or chair to 15 minutes will reduce swelling and relax the legs.
Finally, before bed, treat your feet to a generous dose of SOLE BALM. Our foot cream for cracked feet is a deeply nourishing treatment foot balm. A powerful blend of 22 essential oils will help alleviate tension and tiredness, and a plethora of botanicals including cocoa butter, honey, wheat germ plus oils of olive, soy and avocado deeply moisturise. Clever salicylic acid, papaya and pro-vitamin B5 gently nibble away dead skin cells, so those rough bits will get softer and softer, whilst peppermint oil and menthol gently soothe and cool.
Sleep your feet better. Place legs and knees in an elevated position when you get into bed, this will help the body repair and allows for the blood to flow throughout the body to give the lower half a rest. Taking the load off in this way will rejuvenate your legs and feet by pumping blood back towards the heart, more effective blood circulation will increase relaxation and ease you to a peaceful and healthy sleep.