Your feet are made up of 50 bones. That’s roughly 25 percent of all the bones in your body! Add in 60 joints plus 200 muscles, tendons and ligaments, and we’re looking at one powerful physical structure. And they do a lot more than get us from point A to point B.

In fact, the state of your feet can directly affect your overall health. We chatted with Yamuna Zake, a healer and master in foot fitness, to get her advice on how to keep yours in tip-top shape. Her easy-to-follow tips changed our world!

Get Smart
Working out is good for your overall health but it can take a serious toll on your feet. Be mindful of the fitness routines you choose and take time to analyze what they might do to your body.

Want to run? Consider the possible breakdowns – stress fractures, pulled muscles, shin splints – and educate yourself on how to prevent them. Do the things that you love, but do them intelligently.

Stretch Your Toes
Even shoes advertised as being supportive for feet might not be. In fact, sneakers aren’t much more than down comforters for your toes. They have nice padding and are cushy, but don’t do much to align your body.

Squishing your toes into any kind of shoe for hours at a time can have negative consequences. That’s why you need to take your shoes off and stretch your toes, just like you do other parts of your body. Here’s how:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Bend forward slightly and pick up your heels one at a time as high as they can go.
  • Gently press down on your toes to feel the stretch.

Prepare for Heels
We have some good news for the ladies: you don’t have to give up your stylish stilettos! Spending just five minutes a day stretching and strengthening your feet will keep them healthy no matter what kind of shoe you’re rocking. Follow this routine:

Leaning against a wall for support, start by lifting your heels as high as possible, pulling them back and onto a comfortable rounded surface (Yamuna’s Foot Wakers are made just for this purpose).
Walk on the outside edge of your heels to massage them on the rounded surface. Slowly move along the outside of your feet all the way to your toes. Be careful not to collapse your knees or ankles.

Repeat on the middle and inside edge of your feet. Complete five repetitions.

Practice Walking
At home in your bare feet, practice walking by taking very slow steps, starting on your heel and then rotating to the outside of your foot, dropping your toes one at a time beginning with the pinky. Count 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1.

Keep feet parallel and aligned with your hips. It might seem strange at first, but practice this daily and eventually the form will become intuitive because you’re re-training your body to walk the right way. Walking correctly is one of the most important factors for healthy feet.

Understand Pedi Power
Have you ever wondered why you’re not losing weight even though you’re eating right and working out regularly? Check your feet! Years of running, cycling and fitness activities have been pounding the nerve endings in them. Your feet stimulate organ reflexes and send energy to other parts of your body. When they’re not in good shape, your nerves aren’t firing. That means other parts of your body won’t work correctly, including your metabolism and digestive system. Who knew feet had that kind of power?

Katarina is a freelance writer specializing in travel, spa, and beauty and wellness. She’s the author of The Food Lovers’ Guide To Phoenix & Scottsdale and founder/editor of Style Jaunt, a blog about interesting destinations and fashionable travel. Her work has appeared in publications like American Spa, The New York Post, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, Travel + Leisure online and more.