Those who follow me on Instagram or Facebook already know that a few days ago, I was at the Natural Products Expo in California attending as an Expo Blogger to bring you a lot of updated information from the health industry. This is a show where apart from lectures on nutrition, sustainability, etc., they also show more than 3000 companies in food and natural products industries. This exhibition occupies more than 1 million square meters! I already knew in advance that if I did not do anything for my feet, they will not survive 4 days of walking and standing for more than 9 hours straight. As prevention and helping the body to give us the best it can is my thing, I’m going to share with you some of the things that I did and that worked wonders to be free of pain in my legs and feet.
These remedies work for anyone who has to spend hours standing or walking. I have previously used them successfully in family trips to Disney, other exhibitions, and in the most difficult challenge of resistance for my legs, which in my case has always been to accompany my mom on a shopping day (hee hee) … really, thisis serious stuff and those who know my mom know it! You can use all the remedies listed below together, or choose the ones that work best for you.
What you should do at the start of your day:
1.Stretching, stretching, and stretching: there are several simple and quick exercises that although it will only take you a few minutes to perform them, they will make a big difference in how your feet and legs perform during the day. You can do them when you wake up and before going to bed. Here I detail the most effective ones.
A) Lying on your back on the bed (or on the floor), raise your right leg straight. Grab with both hands behind your thigh (or use a strap or towel as pictured below) and feel the muscles of the leg stretch. Keeping the leg straight, change the position of your foot by pointing your fingers towards the ceiling, and then towards your face. Count to 20 and do the same with the other leg.
B) Stand facing a wall with both feet side by side. Make a movement as if you were to push the wall while you slide your right leg back to have balance. The left leg remains in the same place but instead of being stretched, it is now slightly flexed. Keep your shoulders and spine erect. You should feel a slight stretch in the calf of the leg that is stretched.
Count to twenty with your right leg back and then change your leg. Everyone will benefit from this stretch but especially those who suffer from plantar fasciitis. If you suffer from this condition, do this stretch daily and you will see how your pain will improve.
2. Increase Circulation: Stand straight with both feet firmly on the floor. There should be a space between the two feet similar to the width of one of your feet. Stand on your toes, as if you want to reach something. Then put all the weight of your body on the heels and lift the tips of the feet to take them off the floor (in the direction of the ceiling). Your legs remain relaxed and straight. Do 10 repetitions.
3. Use compression stockings: If after a long time standing you feel heaviness and pain in the legs, this remedy is the most effective you can use to avoid (or delay) this. Usually this heaviness is due to a certain degree of venous reflux, and compression stockings help prevent this from happening. They are also ideal to prevent the appearance of varicose veins. You can find many different types of these socks but this one or this other are the ones that I have used. You will get good results with both types but for me, the most comfortable were the first ones, maybe because the material feels more natural for hot climates and because the fingers are exposed. They look a little strange but I only use them under long pants so nobody knows that I have them on. The second ones that I mentioned (these) are of texture similar to that of a pantyhose but a little thicker. The one that works best for you will depend on the type of material you prefer and on the style you use to dress. Both give very good results.
What you should do at the end of the day:
1. Reduce Swelling: Put your feet in a bowl of cold water or use the shower to wet your legs for a few minutes with cold water. If you do not like the idea of putting your feet in cold water, you can fill a container where your feet fit to put them to soak with 1/2 cup of Epsom salts (this is one that I used).
2. Massage your muscles: Use any moisturizing cream, or better yet, one designed specifically for tired legs and feet and massage from the feet up to the knees (this is one that I use often). The massage of your legs should always be in an upward direction. Massage the bottom of the foot moving your thumbs from your heel, going up a bit towards the fingers and then going down to the sides.
3. Deep foot massage: for this you need the help of a tennis ball (like this ones) or a therapeutic massage ball (this one is excellent). This technique works with the same principle as the “foam rollers” that athletes use to self-massage their muscles, avoid pain, and recover faster. Stand as you normally do, put your right foot on the ball and slide your foot from front to back and vice versa exerting a little pressure to release the muscles. Use a chair or a wall to hold on if you have trouble keeping your balance. Repeat the same with the other foot.
4. Legs against the wall: Believe it or not, this is the simple name of a yoga pose (called viparita karani) that works very effectively to rest feet and legs by reversing the force of gravity on them. This pose (see the first photo in this publication), when performed at the end of the day, calms our nervous system and helps us to have a restful sleep. To do it you only have to lie on the bed or the floor with your hips as close as you can to the wall. Raise your legs straight and let them rest on the wall for 10 to 15 minutes. Relax and breathe deeply. If you have trouble stretching your legs, move your hips away from the wall until you feel comfortable having your legs stretched out on the wall.
5. Repeat the stretches (A and B) that I suggested to start the day (see above).
That’s all. All of these might seem like a lot but once you do it routinely it will only take a few minutes at the beginning and end of the day. This small effort will make a big difference! It’s worth trying!
I would love to know which of these worked for you.