Even if you can't put pressure on your feet, you can still enjoy a well-rounded and healthy exercise program. Some traditional forms of exercise don't put pressure on the feet, and many others can be easily adapted to avoid doing so. You may even find your new exercises more interesting and enjoyable than their more common or conventional counterparts.
Swimming is an ideal exercise if you need to avoid pressure on your feet, and no adaptation is needed. Swimming provides a full-body aerobic and strengthening workout that burns calories, tones muscles and improves cardiovascular fitness. The buoyancy of water also prevents joint stress and strain, and the resistance of water is 12 to 14 percent greater than exercising in air so that your workout can be that much shorter while you are still achieving your health and fitness goals, according to the Bucknell University athletic department. If you need to limit the motion of your feet, eliminate kicking in the water by holding onto a kickboard with your feet or legs and using your arms to propel yourself through the water.
You can adapt many weightlifting activities without putting pressure on your feet by sitting on a bench or in a chair. Most upper-body weightlifting exercises easily adapt to a sitting or lying position that alleviates pressure on the feet. Lower-body exercises, such as leg extensions, hamstring curls and inner and outer thigh exercises, can all be adapted by either sitting or lying down on a bench or a mat on the floor. Work with a personal trainer to learn proper technique and avoid injury. Weightlifting helps prevent osteoporosis, increases lean muscle mass, increases HDL -- the "good" form of cholesterol -- and decreases your risk for colon cancer, according to San Juan College Allied Health Department. You can also strengthen calf muscles by pointing and flexing your toes.
Yoga is a gentle form of exercise that offers a variety of health benefits and is adaptable to being done without pressure on your feet. Many standing yoga postures can be adapted by sitting in a chair or on a mat on the floor. These positions generally require smaller movements, allow for greater relaxation throughout your body and are helpful if you are recovering from a foot injury. Yoga is a safe and cost-effective method for preventing chronic illness, reducing stress and improving your overall well-being, according to the University of Virginia Center for the Study of Alternative and Complementary Therapies.
Pilates is a series of exercises done on the floor and on specially-designed equipment. These exercises improve core strength -- your abdominal and back muscles -- and promote a balance between strength and flexibility. Many Pilates exercises require no pressure on the feet. A knowledgeable Pilates instructor can customize a routine that meets your requirements for avoiding pressure on your feet. Health benefits of Pilates include increased circulation, improved coordination and balance, better posture and healthier bones and joints. Pilates has also been adapted for water, which provides the added benefit of decreased muscle and joint strain.
- Bucknell University Athletic Department: Swimming Benefits Information
- San Juan College Allied Health Department: Weightlifting
- University of Virginia Office of the Vice President for Research: Exploring the Potential Health Benefits of Yoga
- Yoga Journal: Bringing Your Practice Home
- Mira Costa College Office of the President: Pilates
- Truman State University: Water Pilates Makes a Splash
Tracey Roizman, DC is a writer and speaker on natural and preventive health care and a practicing chiropractor. She also holds a B.S. in nutritional biochemistry.