Plantar fasciitis and fitness

Well, the first month of the New Year is almost over. If you’re like many people who made a resolution list, increasing fitness and physical activity are likely one of your top elements. Whether that includes eating a healthier diet or exercising more to shed extra pounds or to better enjoy the outdoors, improving fitness is a great resolution. Not only does a healthy lifestyle make you look great, it has been shown to improve your physical and mental health and make you happier and more self-confident.

Regardless of where your fitness journey is starting, it can be easy to overdo it at first, which could lead to injuries that can derail or postpone your new exercise routine. Overuse of the feet and legs often wears down tendons and muscles, including the important plantar fascia tendon. Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition of the foot that affects this tendon of the foot that connects the heel and ball of the foot, giving structure and stability to the foot and making it possible to use the foot properly for standing, walking, running and jumping. Since cardiovascular exercises are essential parts of any exercise routine, people generally reserve a portion of their training for walking or jogging (depending on their initial fitness level). When the plantar fascia tendon is injured, this important part of the exercise regimen can become too painful.

Fortunately, there are ways you can exercise and burn those calories to be on your way to achieving your new year’s fitness resolution. These exercises will increase your heart rate and make you sweat, all while providing low impact on your feet:

Riding a bicycle. You don’t need a fancy road bike or strenuous trail riding to get a good workout on a bike. Depending on your fitness level and ability, you can ride your bike on the roads in your neighborhood and go as far as you like. You can also choose the terrain, starting on a short flat route and building a more hilly one. If you go fast and long enough and incorporate an increasingly challenging route, a good cardio workout can be achieved without putting stress and shock on your feet.

Using training machines. While you can automatically go to the treadmill at the gym, there are other machines in most gyms that give you the same quality of training without putting undue pressure on your feet. Some greats to consider include the elliptical, stationary bike, and the rowing machine. These machines are ideal for all fitness levels as they can be programmed to go as fast or slow as desired and resistance can also be adjusted.

Go to the pool. For many years, doctors and physical therapists have recommended exercise in the pool. The water offers a natural resistance and the buoyancy of the body in the water decreases the amount of weight placed on the feet. Not only can water aerobics and rigorous swimming of the lengths be refreshing, it can also give you a great workout that is also great for relieving stress on your joints.

Yoga. While cardio classes such as step aerobics and Zumba are prohibited for those with plantar fasciitis, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises such as those performed in yoga and Pilates offer the combination of low impact while building strength and Muscle tone and slim the waist. These exercises can also make one start to sweat beneficially.

Losing weight and getting in better shape is a common and beneficial resolution for the new year. However, plantar fasciitis pain can make it difficult to achieve this resolution by making exercise painful and difficult. However, there are alternatives to running and walking that provide the same cardiovascular benefits. These include riding a bike, using the elliptical machine, stationary bike and rowing, swimming and water aerobics, and yoga.

If your plantar fasciitis does not go away on its own or is extremely painful, contact your podiatrist today to schedule an appointment.

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June 4, 2021