Summer is upon us, and with that comes fun-filled family vacations – amusement parks and beach trips galore. While these trips can be full of excitement for the young ones, they can prove to be physically taxing over long periods of time, especially if you are constantly on your feet. Spending entire days walking or running around, combined with improper footwear and heat, can lead to stiff legs, sore soles, and even muscle cramping.
We all know how foot and leg fatigue can have a big impact on our participation in various activities and overall quality of life, so here are some suggestions to give yours some longevity.
Stretching before and after a long period of time on your feet is a sure way to prevent lower leg cramps cramps. Before long walks, stretch out your calves and feet to loosen up the muscles and in an effort prepare them for the journey they are about to embark upon.
For an excellent stretch, find a set of stairs with a railing:
- Stand on the first step with the balls of your feet, allowing the back half of your foot to hang off.
- Holding onto the railing for balance, gently lift your heels up so they rise above the balls of your feet, then lower them below the step.
This will give you a quality stretch in the calf muscle, Achilles tendon, and the arch of your foot. Be sure to do this after activity as well.
The Right Footwear
Appropriate footwear is crucial in preventing foot fatigue. Be sure to wear shoes that are comfortable, fit properly and provide adequate support. It is recommended to invest in a pair of inserts to support your feet before spending all day putting weight on your arches. If you feel that your feet need extra support or cushioning, see a podiatrist or a footwear specialist that can direct you to the appropriate insoles for your needs. You will be amazed at how this will not only prevent achiness and fatigue in your feet, but in your lower legs and even your hips!
Massages are another effective way to battle cramping and fatigue. If you can’t bribe a family member into doing it for you, it is just as beneficial to give yourself a little rub down. For the soles and arches of the feet, one method you can use is to place a tennis ball on the ground and rub your foot over the top, applying a decent amount of pressure. Or, use one of these personal foot massagers found for cheap at Wal-Mart. In general, massages will help to loosen up the connective tissue that tends to tighten up, causing us to feel stiff.
Stay Hydrated and Remember to Relax!
Be sure to drink plenty of water. The summer heat combined with physical activity, even low intensity activity like walking, can cause us to feel extra achy and fatigued if we are not properly hydrated. For the most efficiency, buy yourself a reusable water bottle that you can refill as you go.
The best solution for tired and achy feet is rest and relaxation. In between activities, be sure to allow yourself some time to sit back, relax, and put those feet up. The elevation helps with proper circulation and will aid in recovery. If your feet or lower legs seem to be swollen or inflamed, treat them with ice.
Of course, see a doctor if you experience any additional injury and try your best to get off your feet if you feel any pain more severe than normal aches. How do you keep your feet healthy? Let’s hear your tips!