Balance starts in the toes

Expert insight:

People have a natural tendency to curl the toes of the standing foot in balancing poses such as Warrior III, but you should actually spread them. By doing so, you increase the amount of contact your foot makes with the floor, explains Alexander Charles, group fitness manager at Equinox West 92nd Street in New York City. In turn, you’ll feel more balanced during yoga and single-leg moves like deadlift variations.

Toe-tensing is also an issue for runners. With each step, you should use your big toe to propel you forward, says Arthur Tang, group fitness manager at Equinox West 50th Street in New York City. Curling them limits your momentum; relaxing them helps you push off the ground with more force.

The bottom line:

Any time your toes curl when running or performing balancing exercises, wiggle them to loosen them up. Imagine the footprint you’d make in the sand: Each toe should be fully represented, creating its own imprint.

Photo: Bersa / Art Partner Licensing