Our feet and legs work very hard for us all our lives, but other than worrying about whether they look good in our new pants or shoes, we often don’t give them a lot of thought. In reality, your legs and feet need as much TLC as the rest of you! There are a lot of things that you can do to keep your feet and legs healthy and help them to stay fit and strong. If you haven’t paid much attention to your lower limbs over the years, now is the time to start pampering with our guide on taking care of your feet and legs.
Taking care of your feet and legs
What you put into your body makes your body what it is. If you eat more calories than you need, you will inevitably put on weight. Extra weight puts an unnecessary burden on your heart and its ability to pump blood effectively around your body. Because your legs and feet are the furthest away from your heart, they are more likely to suffer the effects of reduced circulation. This can result in swelling of feet and ankles, due to a build-up of fluid. More seriously, reduced circulation can result in blood clots and ulcers in the legs. By maintaining a healthy diet and keeping your weight within advised parameters, you will be able to avoid these unpleasant side effects. It’s also important to drink plenty of clear fluids every day to make sure your body is hydrated sufficiently and to avoid thickening of the blood.
Along with maintaining a healthy weight, the best way to look after your feet and legs is to give them plenty to do! The worst thing for your legs is to be inactive, and if you don’t work the muscles in your lower limbs, you will be far more likely to suffer from varicose veins and aching legs. It is much better for them to be active than sedentary, so if your job involves a lot of sitting down, you need to find ways to exercise during the day. For example, make sure you get up and walk at frequent intervals throughout the day, take stairs instead of elevators, and consider purchasing one of the exercise machines that will fit under your desk. You can then gently exercise your limbs while you work. It is particularly important if you find it hard to fit in an exercise routine outside of work. If you can, then the more exercise your legs get, the healthier and stronger they will be. Choose your exercise carefully; for one thing, you want to do something you will enjoy and not want to quit doing; for another, you need to find an exercise that is suitable for your abilities and any health issues you may have. For example, running is an excellent form of exercise and can be thoroughly enjoyable, providing you build your fitness up sensibly and have the right gear. You should get the best running shoes you can afford, that offer the correct support and reduce concussion to your limbs. The best idea is to have your feet assessed to see if you need shoes for flat feet or orthotic inserts; visit Shoe Guide for more information.
If you are taking care of your insides by eating well and exercising regularly, you should have a healthy body that reflects the good care you are taking of it. Nevertheless, there are still surface problems that can arise. Your skin needs to be exfoliated and moisturized regularly, so find an exfoliation method that suits you, and a moisturizer suitable for your skin type. There are many ways of exfoliating, from simply rubbing with a pumice stone to using one of the ranges of gently abrasive lotions and creams. You need to remove any dead skin before applying your moisturizer, to ensure you are treating living skin cells and to make your skin glow with health. Pay special attention to dry areas such as the knees, on which you may need to use a richer cream. On your feet, you may find you get a build-up of hard skin or calluses, which, although not normally painful, are unsightly. There are several methods of getting rid of this skin using specially designed manual or electric abrasive tools. You may prefer to visit a chiropodist to treat this hard skin, and if you are feeling adventurous, you could try putting your feet in a pool with special skin eating fish, a treatment that sounds slightly bizarre but is very effective. Keep your feet moisturized and use a cream designed to help prevent hard skin forming. When it comes to toenails, keep them short using nail clippers and avoid cutting down into the sides of the nails as this can lead to ingrowing toenails.
There are all sorts of things that can go wrong with your feet. Bunions, corns, athletes foot, and verrucae are some of the more common examples. If you find any painful lumps, discolorations, or itchy patches on your feet or between your toes, get them checked out by the doctor or pharmacist. There are effective treatments for all these conditions, you just to need to make sure you know what the cause of the problem is. One of the most frequent causes of painful feet – as well as aching legs and backs – is the wearing of poorly fitting footwear. While a pair of heels might be fine for a night out, you will be doing yourself a favor by wearing something less extreme during the day. Don’t ever squash your feet into shoes that are too small or that pinch, you will regret it the next day! If you do want to wear high heels then at least use supportive insoles or gel pads that will protect your feet somewhat.
When you think about it, your legs and feet deserve to get some special treatment considering all the things you make them do! So go out on a cycle ride, or whatever form of exercise you favor to get your circulation pumping, then fire up the foot spa and give your feet the pampering they have earned.
Do you have any top tips on taking care of your feet and legs?