While it is logical to think that your feet have a role in balance, it’s amazing that something as simple as toe strength could reduce your risk of falling significantly. Research indicates that people who are likely to fall have around 20% less toe strength and that for each 1% (of body weight) increase, your risk of falling reduces by 7%.
How does your toe strength compare?
To test your toe strength you will need 2 things; a piece of light cardboard (like a business card) and a partner to help you. Place the cardboard on the ground and step on top of it so that only your toes are directly on it. If the cardboard is touching the ball if your foot the test won’t work.
Ask your partner to try and pull the cardboard away from under your toes. If they can, it indicates that your toe strength needs to be improved.
How can I improve?
While there are many exercises aimed at improving strength, such as scrunching up a towel, many of them aren’t done in a way that the body can use. When you are walking or standing, the toes grip the ground to help you maintain your balance. The toes need to learn how to press down as they bear the full weight of your body.
It is subtleties like this that make all the difference when it comes to exercise. In fact, a study of 153 seniors who performed basic foot strengthening exercises such as toe scrunches for 30mins, three times a week showed no appreciable difference in strength after 6 months!
The team at Active Seniors specialise in making sure that we give you the best possible exercises that help your body to learn a better way to negotiate balance.