Ankle flexibility exercises are the last thing that people would think that they need to perform in order to live a healthy lifestyle. Many are often surprised to find that they have poor ankle mobility, especially when they exercise regularly.
Unfortunately, due to many of our everyday environments, poor ankle mobility is far more common than expected. Many people sit in a chair for numerous hours throughout the day. This can limit blood circulation and lead to muscles growing tighter over time. The only remedy to counteract the effects that a sedentary lifestyle causes on the body is to perform daily stretches and flexibility routines.
The effects of tight ankles and poor ankle mobility can be prohibiting. Poor ankle mobility will not only limit your body’s performance, but it may also lead to aches and pains in numerous areas that you would not expect; such as in your forearm. Below we have listed 5 key ankle flexibility exercises to help you regain and maintain your ankle mobility.
1) Calf Foam Rolling
First on our list of ankle flexibility exercises is a foam rolling exercise. A foam roller is a soft tool that allows for you to break up any dense muscle tissue that may be causing a muscle to become tight. The goal of foam rolling your calves is to break up any knots that may have developed in them over time.
To perform this exercise, you will need either a foam roller or a small ball. Place the roller or ball under your calf and cross your other leg on top of that leg. Your other leg is on top to increase the force on the roller.
Roll your calf on the roller/ball until you feel a knot. Afterwards, remain still on that knot for about a minute. Continue the process with both legs until you feel as if the knots are all gone. Be sure to turn your feet at different angles to hit different spots of your calves.
2) Ankle Circles
Ankle circles are one of the few ankle flexibility exercises that can be performed anywhere. With ankle circles, you will be moving your ankle in circular patterns to loosen up the joint.
With your foot off of the ground, rotate both of your ankles clockwise, counterclockwise, then in numerous other directions. Performing this simple exercise multiple times a day will improve your ankle mobility.
After you have mastered the basic ankle circles, you can take this to the next level. Try to spell the alphabet with your ankles and observe which positions your ankle may feel the tightest in. Afterwards, start focusing on these positions more.
3) Ankle Rockers
Ankle rockers are aimed at loosening your ankle joints; specifically, the joint connecting your ankle to your foot. To perform ankle rockers, kneel down onto one knee. Afterwards, place the foot of your other leg on the ground; almost like a lunge.
Rock forward, backward, and side-to-side on the foot that is placed flat on the ground. Focus on moving as far in each direction as possible, then hold the position for a few seconds. Switch to the other foot when you are done.
4) Toe Stretch
Every single muscle in your foot has its purpose. The muscles in your toes can be contributing to tight ankles. As a result, you should stretch them out when you decide to work on your ankles.
Sit with your legs crossed, then hold your foot with your hands. Stretch each one of your toes with your fingers. Stretch your toes both backward and forward then repeat for the other foot.
5) Wall Calf Stretch
This final exercise is designed to loosen up your calf muscle rather than your ankle directly. Start by placing the base of your foot to a wall or door with your heel touching the ground. Begin to lean forward into the stretch until you feel your calf starts stretching. Hold the stretch then repeat for your other leg.
These 5 ankle flexibility exercises that are listed above will promote ankle mobility and relaxed muscles. These ankle flexibility exercises will get you on the path to a more healthy and satisfying lifestyle. It is important to note that you should always aim to stretch every major muscle group.
They are all linked to one another in a variety of ways; tightness in one area often leads to tightness in another area. Using the steps above, you should be well on your way to decreasing tightness throughout your whole body.
Image source: 1, 2