Focus on your feet
A cool-down is super important after every workout, as it means you won't feel as sore the next day. But while most people spend time on their arms, legs and abs, they often forget one important part of the body: the feet.
If you think about it, feet actually take the brunt of most exercise. From getting pounded on the treadmill to flexing during all those high kicks, your tootsies need some TLC. Luckily we have all the top tips for giving them a stretch.
With 18 muscles and tendons and plenty of connective tissue, there are many areas of the foot you need to think about.
“The most powerful release anyone can do is to the bottom of the foot,” Barefoot Strong podiatrist Emily Splichal told Shape.com.
You can buy special equipment to achieve this, but the expert also recommends golf balls taken straight out of the freezer. All you need to do is sit down, place the cold ball under your sole and roll from heel to toe and side to side. Just use as much pressure as feels comfortable to you.
Don't forget your toes, either.
“Lots of shoes have narrow, tight, or pointed toe boxes, which can cause your own toes to become cramped," Emily explained.
Use special toe separators, which can be found online, to stretch them out.
What if it's too late and you've already pulled a tendon in your foot? While it's painful, most injuries like this sort themselves out pretty fast. The most important thing is rest, so take at least a week out of your usual exercise routine and focuses on abs or arm weights, anything that doesn't put strain on your foot.
Ice relieves pain and inflammation, so get an ice pack out of the freezer and place it on the affected area for about ten to 15 minutes at a time. You can also take pain relievers as instructed.
Even if it hurts, do some gentle exercises every day to keep the foot moving. You can slowly increase activity, but take your time, do lengthy warm-ups and stop if the pain gets worse.
If the pain persists, make sure to see a doctor.