You calf muscle is your second heart. It pumps the blood upwards in walking (gait), but if your ankles are stiff or feet are weak this is jepodised. Gait analysis can pinpoint and help teach the best exercises for this.

Calves are referred to as our second hearts.

They are beautifully designed to help you walk but they are also vital venus pumps from the legs to the heart.

Ankle mobility and strength are determine the quality of their function.

In order for them to function effectively we need to look below at the feet (and above but let’s focus below on this post).

If we lack natural movement and strength in the foot, we lack calf function because the front of the foot needs to plant flex (push down) evenly in order for the heel to lift (the calves contract).  The front of the ankle muscles also need a good strength to control this motion.  If the big toe or baby toe is not able to planta flex (push down) one side of the foot with take more of the weight and this will impact the calf movement.  Put all of these together and some people I see avoid movement in the ankle and therefore dont get a full calf contraction, which can lead to varicose vein’s, cold feet and bad circulation, foot issues and reduced healing or heath as well as compensation patterns up the chain.

We also need to look at footwear. Ideally we want a shoe that is flat, very flexible and thin so that our feet are functioning as naturally as possible.

So foot wear also changes blood flow & heart health by virtue of improving the natural function of the calves.

Be aware that if you have never worn barefoot shoes before you need to transition with strengthening and mobility exercises.

So which moves are best?

Heel raises (double and single), heel drops slowly off a stair (eccentrically loading really helps), toe strengthening moves, toe mobility moves, and eventually jumps and hops can help build up the strength.

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