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American Family Children's Hospital
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Heel to Toe Rocker

Walking is a great activity for most of us. You can take it gentle, walking for just a few minutes a few times a day, or make it challenging and do a hike in a hilly area or train for an endurance walk.

 

This month's exercise, Heel to Toe Rocker, can help you strengthen your lower legs to help your endurance for progressing your walking program. This exercise focuses on training the muscles in the lower legs. In addition, you will train your balance, upper legs, hips and trunk as stabilizers.

 

To Begin the Exercise

 

To make this exercise a little more gentle, you can start it seated toward the front of a chair, rolling through the heel to toe motion slowly to work on range of motion and strength. Try to roll through the whole ball of the foot instead of lifting through just one side of foot. Feel all ten toes on the floor as you lift your heel.

 

Progressions

 

To help progress to the standing version shown in the video, start by holding onto a cabinet or railing to assist balance. Again, try to maintain body weight on the whole ball of your foot as you lift your heel and bring all ten toes into the floor.

 

Gradually decrease how much you are helping your balance with your hands, working to light fingertip, then just one or two fingers, then fingers on/off the furniture.

 

Increase the Challenge

 

To increase challenge level, try closing your eyes, adding head turns, moving even slower through the heel toe roll or moving your arms around as you lift and lower.

 

When Performing This Exercise

 

For all versions, keep the motion slow and smooth, going fast is actually easier balance. Think about weight bearing through the whole ball of foot, instead of falling to small toe or great toe as you lift your heels. Notice in the video how the model keeps his torso stacked shoulders over ribs over hips over knees. Your body will want to rock hips back and forth to counter balance movement. Look forward, find how your breath can still move fully and freely.

 

Watch a Demonstration of Heel to Toe Rocker