Aerobics and Your Feet: Stepping Up Your Exercise

Robert G. Parker
Connect with me
Dr. Parker is a podiatrist and surgeon in Houston, TX who has been helping patients for more than 40 years.

Aerobic exercise benefitsAlthough you may think about cheesy workout videos with instructors in brightly-colored leotards, aerobics are actually a great form of exercise. The health benefits reach your whole body, including your feet and ankles. Like any other workout or sports activity, though, you need some special care to prevent injuries and feel the full benefits of the exercise, especially for aerobics and your feet.

Get Your Heart Pumping and Feet Moving

Aerobics are rhythmic exercises that employ large groups of muscles. They focus on continuous movement to work your heart and lungs as well, increasing your heart rate and breathing. Over time, this builds muscle as well as improves your circulation and cardiopulmonary efficiency. The benefits reach nearly all your body’s systems. You lose weight, lower blood pressure, and decrease your risks for things like heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. Aerobics and your feet are, of course, closely linked. You need healthy, stable lower limbs to be able to support this type of exercise.

There are classes that do specific aerobic exercises, including step, dance, and water aerobics. However, you don’t have to take a special class to participate in this style of activity. Power walking, biking, swimming, and even cross-country skiing can be considered aerobic. Whether you join a class or do it on your own, though, you need to invest in your foot care to prevent injuries and pain.

Protecting Your Lower Limbs

Aerobic movements generally involve sudden side-to-side motions and jumping repeatedly. Your feet need to be in good shape to avoid problems. Even low-impact varieties are repetitive and can take a toll on your lower limbs. You can easily end up with either traumatic or overuse conditions. Footwear, conditioning, and warming up properly are a crucial part of any exercise, but especially for aerobics and your feet.

Your shoes are vital for your foot support, particularly when you’re active. You need sturdy footwear with cushioned soles to help with shock absorption. They should have the appropriate arch support so your weight is distributed evenly. The sides of the shoes should be stable to compensate lateral movements as well. If you have preexisting biomechanical issues, you may need orthotics to help control abnormal motion. Also, make sure you exercise on a padded floor or cushioned mat to help reduce the hard impacts.

Your feet will need time to adjust to the strain of your activity. Condition them by doing foot and calf exercises, like toe spreads, calf raises, heel-toe walking, and Achilles stretches. Start any activity slowly with low impacts. As you improve, you can increase your intensity. Before any exercise, make sure you warm up to prepare. Dynamic stretches are best for this; they get your muscles firing appropriately.

If you’re looking for a new activity to stay in shape and to benefit your whole body, aerobics is a good place to start. It’s easy to pick up as a beginner and can be useful for cross-training with other sports. Just remember, when it comes to aerobics and your feet, you still need to take precautions to prevent injuries and feel the full benefits of your actions. Let Dr. Robert Parker help you keep your lower limbs safe through your activities. Don’t wait until you’re already struggling with foot pain to seek help.  Just call Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston, TX, at (281) 497-2850 to make an appointment with us. You can also use the web contact form to reach us.