A Standing Solution – A Guest Post from Pro Trail Runner Ashley Arnold

Professional trail runner, Ashley Arnold contributed this story to the FootBalance blog:

While we know that sitting all day is bad for our body—our body just sort of shuts down from being too sedative—standing can also wreck havoc on us. Standing not only makes for tired feet and legs, but often times total body exhaustion.

According to FootBalance’s website, “Your feet are the foundation for your entire body. When this foundation is misaligned or functioning poorly the effects can be felt throughout the body, whether in muscle and joint pain or through more serious injuries.”

Last December, I took a hard fall and severely sprained my ankle five miles into The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Trail Race in the Marin Headlands just outside of San Francisco, California. It’s taken months to return to some amount of normalcy (perhaps this is partly due to the fact that I can’t actually bring myself to stop running completely), but still, just when I felt like I was finally noticing marked improvement, my ankle suddenly took a turn for the worse a couple of weeks ago. I noticed increased soreness, increased swelling and overall lower leg exhaustion at the end of every day. … So much so that I found myself struggling to get through even an hour run.

China Grove 5k, China Grove, NC Ashley Arnold Hunter – 1st – 17:51

Interestingly, this happened at precisely the same time as a week when I was working back-to-back six-hour days at Dancing Colours Studio in Cabrondale, Colorado, a retail shop with hard wood floors, where I have to stand most of the time (with occasional bouts of round-the-store walking).

Most of that standing time, you should know, I was also wearing my absolute favorite (and completely unsupportive) shoes, Chuck Taylors. (After the day I’d end up with an elevated leg for the rest of the evening in an attempt to decrease my ankle and foot swelling so that I could wake up the next morning and run with slightly less pain.)

After a week of this nonsense, I finally came up with a solution: Insert my Dynamic Blue FootBalance footbeds into my Chucks. While the feeling of proper arch support in a skate shoe threw me off at first, my lower legs felt almost immediately less fatigued after the work day, and, the swelling wasn’t nearly as bad.

While I’m still elevating at the end of every day I stand around in the shop, the decision to add FootBalance footbeds to my shoes was perhaps one of the best things I’ve done for my body besides eat well and train hard. I’ve found my feet, legs and body are less sore, my runs are easier and I’m back on a road to a healthy foot and ankle.

7 Key Exercises for Healthier Feet

The muscle groups of your two feet make up 25 percent of the body’s muscles. The stronger your feet, the stronger your foundation is for everything however consider strengthening your feet to be a long-term project. We have put together 7 key exercises for healthier feet.

1. Toe grip

Strengthens foot muscles to improve balance. Place an item on the floor and use your toes to grip and lift it off the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, then release. Repeat five times with each foot. Another version of this is to put about 7-10 small objects on the floor such as lego or marbles and place a small cup nearby. Using your toes, pick up the pieces one at a time and put them in the cup. Just remember to count that you have collected all the objects.

2.Toe stretch

Sit in chair, right leg crossed over left thigh. Interlace left fingers with right toes. Squeeze fingers and toes together and hold for 10 seconds, then stretch wide for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times with each foot.

3. Toe extension

Wrap an elastic band around all five toes. Expand your toes and hold for five seconds; release. Repeat five times on each foot.

4. Calf stretch

Sit with one leg stretched out in front of you and wrap a towel around the ball of the foot. Pull the towel back gently until you feel a stretch in the arch of the foot and the calf. Hold for 10 seconds; release. Repeat five times on each leg.

5. Calf Raise

Position your feet hip-width apart. Slowly raise your heels until you’re on your tiptoes, then slowly lower back down to the ground. Take three slow counts to raise and lower your heels. Repeat 10 times.

6. Sand walking

Any chance you get, take off your shoes and walk in the sand at the beach. This exercise massages your feet as well as strengthens your toes and provides good general foot conditioning. Watch out for glass!

7. Golf ball roll

Roll a golf ball under the ball of the foot for two minutes. This is a great massage for the bottom of the foot and is recommended for people with plantar fasciitis (heel pain), arch strain or foot cramps. We have even heard of people using a frozen-golf-ball for massaging their feet. The icy, feel and hard ball can get into the tiny muscles of the foot and give you a deep massage.

FootBalance’s Tips for Keeping fit in Autumn & Winter

Knowing how to stay fit throughout the Autumn and winter seasons is more important than you might think if you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Here come the excuses: It’s too dark to exercise outside, it’s getting too cold to exercise, the best programs are on TV now and oh yeah in the New Year I will start a fitness regime.

Well there is no better time than now to get your fitness in check and think if you start now you will be in the better shape for the New Year party and able to tackle the calories over the holiday period.

Here are some tips to get in shape and improve your motivation:

Don’t Blame the Weather

Autumn with its kaleidoscope of colours can be a really refreshing time to take a long walk and exercise. In Winter the cooler temperatures make it idea to get in some heavier exercising and with the right clothes on you will be warm in a matter of minutes. Hiking is an idea exercise for the week-end so review our translation of our Swedish team’s tips for hiking and hiking boots here.

Nordic Walking is also a great exercise for the Autumn & Winter months and can help you get fitter quicker. Read our Nordic Walking post to learn the benefits of Nordic Walking.

Doing some gardening work such as raking the leaves can be another way of gaining some valuable exercise time plus making your area clean and tidy.

Brighten up the darkness

If you are out exercising then take a flash light and reflective vest. If you are cycling than make sure you have front and rear lights on your bike.

Avoid watching the box too much

Take time away from TV or set aside time to watch your favourite program and then head out to do some exercise. Another option is to do some stretching exercises while your looking at TV.

Take up a new sport/activity

Mix it up a little and try a new sport or new exercise regime. It is easy to get stuck in the same old routine so freshen up your activities and try something new. Rather than waiting to try something new in the New Year, try it now and then you can decide if you want to keep it up after the New Year or try something new.

Add Exercise to your daily routine

If your work is not too far away then how about cycling to work at least a day or two a week. Avoid the elevator and take the stairs.

Give yourself a treat

How about a spa and exercise week-end. Getting out of your usual surroundings and doing something new can be a great motivator, so booking a spa hotel, using their fitness equipment and having a relaxing spa at the end of the day can be a great treat.

Wear suitable clothing

If it is cold then dress in layers. It won’t take long for you to warm up so having the right clothing is essential. Look at the tags on your clothes and use “Dri-Fit” and breathable clothing. Usual it is best to have moisture-wicking fabric for your inner layer, so that sweat is moved away and you do not get a chill. A warm layer is idea for the second layer and the third layer is a protective layer like a windbreaker or heavier jacket depending on the temperature and weather.

Add customised comfort to your footwear

Adding FootBalance insoles not only makes sense in terms of improving your stance and correcting foot malpositions but also in terms of adding comfort to your activities and exercise regime. FootBalance insoles are available with various levels of cushioning and stiffness to suit your activity whether it be a strenuerous workout or a brisk walk. It always is easier to motivate yourself if your feeling comfortable and with insoles such as FootBalance Performance perfect for those who want light, dynamic support with a minimalist feel or FootBalance Race heat, the first 100% custom footbed on the market with a built-in heating element, keeping your feet warm in cold conditions and we have many more to choose from.

So now you have no excuse left to start your winter fitness regime in comfort with FootBalance.



Runners know that they need to stay hydrated especially in warm summer weather.

Dehydration in runners may lead to fatigue, headaches, decreased coordination, and muscle cramping. Other heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke, have even more serious consequences. Runners need to pay attention to what and how much they’re drinking before, during and after exercise.


If you’re doing a long run or race (more than 15 to 20 kilometres), it’s important to make sure you’re well-hydrated during the few days leading up to your long run.

An hour before you start your run, try to drink about half a litre of water or other non-caffeinated fluid. To make sure you’re hydrated before you start running, you can drink another 100 to 200ml right before you start.


You should take in 100 to 150ml of fluid every 20 minutes during your runs for normal paced runners. Those running at a fast pace need to increase their consumption. Belts that hold small bottles of water tend to be more comfortable the having large bottles of water on your person.


It can be good to determine your sweat rate and how much fluids you might be loosing. Different people run at different paces and of course the weather will have an impact too so try your best to get a reasonably accurate measure. One measurement that is noted online quite a bit is to do the following: weigh yourself (naked) before a timed training run, and then again after.

About half a kilo of weight loss equals 500ml of water loss. Calculate your sweat rate and use this to determine your fluid needs during a run or race. For example, if you lose close to a kilo during an hour run, that’s close to 1 litre. Therefore, you need 250ml of water or sports beverage every 15 minutes.


Don’t forget you still need to hydrate after a run. Follow the sweat rate measurement to rehydrate yourself.

Enjoy the run and stay hydrated.