It all starts from the ground up. Your feet might not seem like significant contributors to your overall health. However, when it comes to the external aspects of your body, there is no harder working part then your feet. They keep you moving, and if you take proper care of them, your feet will prevent back, knee and hip pain.
What follow will explain 10 exercises that will strengthen your feet, help prevent pain, and improve your balance.
1. Toe Presses
Like any body part, the feet need to have their muscles warmed up properly before engaging in exercise. Toe presses are a great low impact warm up for your feet, and, the movement can be quite relaxing. Stand tall and bend slightly in the knees. Next grip the floor with your toes and hold for a count of three. Release and perform a set of 10 reps three times a day.
2. Toe Walking
You don’t have to be a ballerina for this foot exercise. Toe walking will help strengthen the muscles in your toes, as well as the ligaments and muscles surrounding the balls of your feet. To perform the toe walking exercise all you must do is stand on your tiptoes and walk forward for 20 seconds. Once you have completed this walk, rest for 10-15 seconds. Repeat this exercise 5 more times.
Note: this exercise should be performed 2 times a day for best results.
3. Ankle Circles
Ankle mobility and flexibility are extremely important. Ankle’s that are tight and restricted often causes the rest of the body to compensate for their flaws, which results in muscle and joint pain throughout the body. If your ankles are tight you might experience hip, back or knee pain.
To perform ankle circles, put your back to the floor and extend one leg over your head. Rotate the extended leg’s ankle clockwise for 10 counts. Then, rotate the extended leg’s ankle counterclockwise for 10 counts. Switch legs and repeat.
4. Resisted Flexion
Resisted flexion is excellent for targeting the hard to reach small muscles in the foot. These muscles often play a crucial role in maintaining balance. Strengthening these muscles will prevent injury.
To perform this exercise you will need one exercise band. Sitting on the floor, straighten your feet out in front of you. Next, wrap an exercise band around a sturdy chair or bedpost, and then place the band on the top of your feet. While in a seated position on the floor, slide back until you feel tension in the band.
Flex your foot backwards and hold for a count of 5, release and repeat this movement for 10 repetitions.
5. Toe Pencil Pickups
Toe pencil pickups are easy to perform and can be done almost anywhere. All you will need for this exercise is a pencil (or pen we are not picky). Stand in front of the pencil you wish to pick up. Using your toes grab this pencil and elevate it off the ground, hold for 10 seconds, then drop it. Repeat this movement 5 times for each foot.
This exercise routine should only take about 20 minutes to complete. Preform these exercises in succession of each other every 2-3 days for best results.
(Republished with explicit permission)
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Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People
The Biden administration is reportedly planning to propose an immediate ban on menthol cigarettes, a product that has long been targeted by anti-smoking advocates and critics who claim that the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed to Black people in the U.S.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration could announce a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes as soon as this week.
Roughly 85 percent of Black smokers use such menthol brands as Newport and Kool, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Research has also found that menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than unflavored tobacco products, along with other small cigars popular with young people and African Americans.
Civil rights advocates claim that the decision should be greeted by Black communities and people of color who have been marketed to by what they describe as the predatory tobacco industry.
Black smokers generally smoke far less than white smokers, but suffer a disproportionate amount of deaths due to tobacco-linked diseases like heart attack, stroke, and other causes.
Anti-smoking advocates like Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also greeted the move to cut out products that appeal to children and young adults.
“Menthol cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of youth smoking in the United States,” he said. “Eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars used by so many kids will do more in the long run to reduce tobacco-related disease than any action the federal government has ever taken.”
However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Group (ACLU) has opposed the move, citing the likelihood that such an action could lead to criminal penalties arising from the enforcement of a ban hitting communities of color hardest.
In a letter to administration officials, the ACLU and other groups including the Drug Policy Alliance said that while the ban is “no doubt well-intentioned” it would also have “serious racial justice implications.”
“Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter explained. “A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”
Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say
With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.
According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.
The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.
The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.
While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.
Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.
“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.
“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.
Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced
However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.
Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact
Humanity has been battling against disease for centuries.
And while most contagious outbreaks have never reached full-blown pandemic status, Visual Capitalist’s Carmen Ang notes that there have been several times throughout history when a disease has caused mass devastation.
Here’s a look at the world’s deadliest pandemics to date, viewed from the lens of the impact they had on the global population at the time.
Editor’s note: The above graphic was created in response to a popular request from users after viewing our popular history of pandemics infographic initially released a year ago.
Death Toll, by Percent of Population
In the mid-1300s, a plague known as the Black Death claimed the lives of roughly 200 million people – more than 50% of the global population at that time.
Here’s how the death toll by population stacks up for other significant pandemics, including COVID-19 so far.
The specific cause of the Black Death is still up for debate. Many experts claim the 14th-century pandemic was caused by a bubonic plague, meaning there was no human-to-human transmission, while others argue it was possibly pneumonic.
Interestingly, the plague still exists today – however, it’s significantly less deadly, thanks to modern antibiotics.
History Repeats, But at Least We Keep Learning
While we clearly haven’t eradicated infection diseases from our lives entirely, we’ve at least come a long way in our understanding of what causes illness in the first place.
In ancient times, people believed gods and spirits caused diseases and widespread destruction. But by the 19th century, a scientist named Louis Pasteur (based on findings by Robert Koch) discovered germ theory – the idea that small organisms caused disease.
What will we discover next, and how will it impact our response to disease in the future?
Like this? Check out the full-length article The History of Pandemics
Republished from ZH with permission.