Fitness and Health: The Driving Muscle

By meredith beckman on 12/02/2008
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Ballet Yes. There is a muscle on the front of your lower leg. Chances are your right tibialis anterior is much stronger, less tight, and better developed than the left. Why? Because that pedal-to-the-metal action is a perfect strengthening exercise for the lovely muscle. Aside from driving, strengthening this muscle can result in greater ankle stability, a lesser chance of developing shin splints, and prevents the toe from grazing the ground during the swinging phase while walking. It also is responsible for the inward and outward rotating movements at the ankle and supports the arch of the foot.

Every time the toes are raised, the “driving muscle” is getting a mini strength training session. Who said a workout can’t be done in the car? Although driving is somewhat responsible for the development and the strength of the right tibialis anterior, it’s probably best to perform the following resistance exercise in a less, er, mobile setting. Incorporate these exercises into your healthy lifestyle!

Sit in a chair or lay flat on your back with feet flat on the floor. During an exhale, pull the toes upward off the floor slowly, while squeezing the tibialis anterior. Slowly return the toes to the floor, but put no weight on the toes. As soon as the toes touch the floor, pull them slowly upwards again. Continue to repeat the motion, slowly and controlled, 12 times. Three sets of 12 repetitions are adequate for strengthening the tibialis anterior. Between sets, point the toes and rotate inward and outward at the ankle to stretch.

Who knew such a simple exercise could be part of the quest for better fitness and health?!

 

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