This post is a continuation of my last blog. Each post I'll be adding an exercise, inspired by the Pilates technique, for you to try at home. Our goal is to create a series of movements that will build a strong, stable posture from the ground up.
This week we are going to concentrate on the calves. By stretching and strengthening the calf muscles, we not only increase the blood flow throughout the entire leg, we also allow for better ankle mobility. Better mobility in the ankle is essential for efficient posture and gait.
Stand with your feet hip distance apart, which is approximately two fists wide. Inhale through your nose and imagine your head as a helium balloon. As you exhale out of your mouth, visualize your head float toward the ceiling, taking your body with it. Your heels will raise slowly and surely off the floor. Don't worry about the height of the heels, just think about the quality in which you raise them. You want to raise straight up, without rocking forward and back on your heels. Do this 8-16 times. If this is too difficult, hold onto the back of a chair for support. If you want more of a challenge, try standing on one leg at a time.
After doing the heel raises, stretch each calf. Hold onto a chair or wall, take one foot behind the other with your toes facing forward. Bend your front knee, without taking the back heel off the floor. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds. Do this routine a few times a week and let me know how it feels.