After a rocky start, we are starting to feel more positive about the coming year; a year that will hopefully see us all returning to something resembling our normal lives soon.
At Foot Solutions, we are looking forward to opening all of our stores again to welcome you back. Given the current Level 5 Restrictions, most of our stores will remain closed for the next few weeks. Stores that continue to operate will do so on an appointment only basis. Please check our website for full details.
In the meantime, don’t miss our top tips for a healthy and active winter below. Stay safe.
Staying Active In Winter
2021 has brought a sprinkling of snow and frosty temperatures with it. Staying motivated enough to leave the cosy confines of the house can be tricky this time of year. Below we have rounded up some of our best tips for maintaining motivation and having a healthy winter.
Staying active in the winter can help distract us from the negative news and lack of sun. Even adding a little more movement to your days can benefit your health in all manner of ways. By being physically active, you reduce the risk of health problems and prevent foot problems. Even better, you strengthen your bones and your muscles and become stronger each day.
Whether you walk, jog, or do yoga and Zumba in your living room, keep moving to help your body make happy chemicals (endorphins) and boost your brain function. A little gentle exercise every day can also help to reduce anxiety and depression.
Working From Home
With more of us than ever working from home due to Covid restrictions, it is important to be conscious of our movement or lack of it. It’s easy to fall into bad habits e.g. replacing ‘extra time’ saved on our commute to do more sedentary work, or working longer days due to lack of a fixed routine. Very quickly the lines between home and work begin to blur and that can have a negative effect on your health and wellbeing.
So set your routine and boundaries. Get up regularly and stretch, go outside, go up and down the stairs, anything to move your body.
Taking breaks is good for your sanity and also ensures you are resting your eyes from sitting in front of a computer. You could schedule the breaks in your daily calendar to remind you. Get out at least once, or ideally twice a day, for a walk, run or cycle.
~ Set A New Routine
So much has changed that very few of us have a regular or familiar routine at the moment. Fitting in time for ourselves, or exercise, or getting fresh air may have fallen by the wayside. Don’t worry; help is at hand. Research done in the UK revealed that by simply writing down when and where they would exercise, study participants’ exercise rates doubled.
The exact sentence they used in this study was “During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME] in [PLACE].” Just by writing down and completing this sentence, the participants experienced increased motivation. Try it out for yourself and see if it helps.
~ Help Someone Else
Some people can’t get out with the current weather and restrictions because they are elderly or vulnerable. Knowing that there are people in your community that might need your help could be the motivation you need. Lending a hand is a win-win situation – you keep active, and your neighbour has someone to rely on. Why not ask your cocooning neighbours if they have a dog that needs walking or errands that you could run for them?
Alternatively, you could take on a walking challenge for charity. Many Irish charities welcome participants year-round for active fundraising challenges that can be completed in your own time and area.
~ Set A Personal Goal
Having a set goal or reason for staying healthy can be extremely motivating. Since exercise and active lifestyles have so many benefits, your options are endless. Do you want to improve your overall fitness? Would you like your joints to ache less or reduce your foot problems? Perhaps you want to set a daily step count. Whatever your goal or reason, write it down to keep yourself motivated.
~ Try Easy At-Home Fitness Options
For those of us stuck at home (or just not keen on going out when it’s cold) there are fun and easy ways to stay active in the house. As well as using housework and gardening to help you stay active, you could try one of these activities.
Floor to Standing Exercise
This exercise is excellent for anyone who feels stiff and has a little less spring in their step than you used to. Done carefully and regularly, the floor to standing exercise can loosen up joints and get that spring back. This one is great for all ages and most fitness levels and uses nearly every muscle in the body.
- Start by clearing space and lay down a bath towel or exercise mat.
- Wear exercise shoes for grip and support and loose-fitting clothes.
- Start by standing tall at one end of your mat and taking a deep breath in.
- Next, carefully lower yourself onto the floor and into a kneeling position.
- Then, using your arms to support you, lower yourself until your lying down. Note:You can lie on your back or stomach, whichever is most comfortable for you. If you lie on your back, roll onto your side to get up safely.
- Take your time to get back up to the starting position and use a chair for support if you need to.
Repeat five times daily or more if you feel able to.
Daily stretches can help wake up the body and mind, preventing us from feeling sluggish and warming up our joints and muscles. Try these at home stretches each day to stay supple.
● Overhead stretch – Stand with feet hip-width apart. Bring your hands together in front of you and raise your arms above your head. Breath slowly for a count of 10 and then lower your arms. Repeat two – five more times.
● Hip swing (not technically a stretch but worth doing daily to loosen up the hips) – Stand side-on to a sturdy chair or wall and us it to steady yourself. Swing the leg furthest from the wall forward and backwards slowly ten times. Turn and swing the other leg.
● Ankle stretch – Sit n the floor or with your legs up on the sofa. Place a cushion or rolled towel under your ankle. Rotate your foot slowly clockwise and then change direction. Repeat 5 – 10 times.
● Hamstring stretch – sit on the edge of your chair. Stretch out one leg in front of you and keep the other at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Slide your hands together down the stretched leg, and as close to your toes as you can go. Don’t force the stretch if you can’t reach all the way. Hold for ten and then swap sides.
~ Be Active And Safe This Winter
For anyone venturing outside for a walk to enjoy the crisp winter air, wrap up warm and be sure to wear shoes that have a good grip. The ground can be frosty early in the morning and in the evening, so be extra careful when walking at these times. Wearing the right kind of foot support can reduce the risk of aggravating or causing problems with your feet.
~ Walking Calls
Whether you’re working from home or cocooning, use your call time with colleagues and family to get active. Make a point of getting up out of your seat and standing, walking or even doing gentle lunges whilst on the phone. You don’t need to leave the house for this and can instead stroll around your home whilst chatting. Even this small extra movement in your day can make a difference to your overall health.
~ Tune In To Operation Transformation
We’re big fans of RTE Operation Transformation at Foot Solutions and support the show’s message of having a healthy active lifestyle. It is a motivating TV show that we recommend tuning in for.
Every week, participants learn about healthy eating and how to be more active. What is great about Operation Transformation is that the participants are ordinary people we can all relate to. The advice from the experts on the show is realistic and practical too.
Operation Transformation is on RTE every Wednesday at 9 pm or you can watch it on the RTE player when suits you. You can also get the weekly shopping lists and fitness plans from the website.
Foot Solutions Keeps All Ages Active
At Foot Solutions, we meet people of all ages and activity levels. Thanks to our complimentary foot-assessment service, we can help people solve a range of foot problems and stay active every day.
Anthony Lanigan was suffering from severe back pain and shin splints. The condition was so bad that it was threatening his business, South East Fascia and Soffit in Waterford.
‘My job involves going up and down ladders all day’ says Anthony ‘and you can’t do that when you are suffering that kind of pain. I tried everything to resolve the issue. Physiotherapy went some of the way to fixing the problem with my back, but I was still having real problems with my shins and ankles. Then I met Peter Jones from Foot Solutions in Waterford at a trade show.
‘Peter told me they could resolve the issues with customised insoles. I popped into the shop in Waterford where they assessed the condition and took all my measurements. The insoles arrived a while later and I started using them. That was four years ago. I haven’t had a single problem with my ankles or shins since.
‘This is vital for me obviously because it means I can carry on with my livelihood and the business. It also means I can carry on leading an active lifestyle. The originals problems with my back and ankles forced me to give up playing hurling. Once those were cleared up, I went back playing hurling with Ballygunnner and I was playing soccer as well. That was great.
‘In fairness, Peter told me from day one that the insoles wouldn’t be cheap. But they weren’t really expensive at all when you consider that, four years later, I am still wearing them every day and I have had no problems with my feet. When I look at the relief I got after a visit to Foot Solutions, I think it was fantastic value for money.’
Here at Foot Solutions, we’re passionate about your feet. Feet are incredible! They work hard to support you all day long, and the health of your feet can have a big impact on the health of your whole body. This is why we are dedicated to finding solutions to common foot problems and resolving foot pain.