Do you enjoy taking long walks on a variety of surfaces? If so, you can thank the muscles that surround the middle of your shin bone -- the tibia -- for helping you navigate those paths. These muscles help keep you balanced and are involved in ankle, foot and toe movements. Walking itself is one of the exercises that can strengthen your medial tibial muscles. The stronger muscles then continue to aid your walking, forming a perfect circle of good health.
Kick off your shoes and take a barefoot walk on the beach to help strengthen the flexor digitorum longus muscle, which is involved in flexing your foot and toes, as well as other muscles near your shin bone. If you don’t live near the beach, try your back yard, a friendly field or a trusted walking path.
Hopping is another good option that anyone can do almost anywhere, as long as the surface isn’t too hard -- avoid concrete, for example. Warm up with about 10 minutes of light aerobics, then hop lightly on the balls of your feet about 30 times. Perform several sets of faster hops by resting for 30 seconds, then hopping as quickly as you can for about 12 seconds in each set.
Several exercises provide a good overall workout to most of your lower leg muscles, including the muscles near your shin bone. Calf raises are probably the most common overall calf exercise. Perform the exercise with both feet, or one at a time, by placing the balls of your feet on the edge of a raised platform, with the middle and back of your feet hanging over the edge. Raise yourself by flexing your ankles, then lower your heels as far as you comfortably can. You can do standard calf raises using your body weight, or while you’re holding free weights. Alternatively, hop on a machine to perform calf raises.
The calf press is another good choice for a knee-to-foot calf workout. They’re similar to leg presses, as you’ll sit in the machine’s seat and press your foot against a plate. But instead of pushing the plate with your entire leg, you’ll flex your ankle and push the machine with either your heel or the ball of your foot, thereby focusing the resistance onto your calf muscles.
The calf extension exercise is basically a seated form of calf raise, but in reverse, because you extend your legs in front of you and place your heels on the machine’s platform, then flex your toes forward. You can try a tibia raise machine by placing your foot beneath the machine’s resistance bar and flexing your ankle upward.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.