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How To Undo The Damage High Heels Are Causing To Your Body

How To Undo The Damage High Heels Are Causing To Your Body

Does every bone, muscle and joint from your toes to your neck hurt after a long day in heels at work? Love the way your favorite heels look on date night, but hate the way your body feels after having them on all night?

You’re not alone.

High heels have always been famous for the agonizing foot and ankle pain so many women experienced after wearing them. But now we know that heels are not only causing temporary foot pain that a sympathetic significant other can massage away, but instead, long term structural damage.

According to a recent review article wearing high heels is associated with a fundamental changes in the wearer’s posture and gait that the researchers found lead to “mostly negative consequences” long term.

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Over time heels create strength imbalances in the muscles  that surround the ankle joint. This can lean to ankle instability which is associated with changes in gait and posture. Long term these changes are associated with injuries to muscles in the upper leg, hip and even the back.

“One condition known to compound the difficulty of walking is the use of high heeled shoes, which alter the natural position of the foot-ankle complex, and thereby produce a chain reaction of (mostly negative) effects that travels up the lower limb at least as far as the spine.”- Cronin, NJ

While the best defense against the damage high heels causes is to give up heels altogether, that’s probably not a realistic option and probably isn’t necessary at all as long as some preventive measures are taken to counteract the effects of heels on the ankle.

Spend Less Time In Heels

Keep in mind, you don’t have to give them up. But if you can find times in the day to slip them off and wear other shoes or simply go barefoot, even for short periods of time, you’re going to help minimize the negative effects the shoes are having on the mobility of your ankle. For example, in Gretchen Reynolds‘ article she states that: “Dr. Cronin also suggests slipping off heels while sitting at your desk, since wearing the shoes, even when not moving “can alter the resting length of the muscles and tendons around the ankle.”

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So, give your feet a break during the day. If you’re going out to run errands, walking to get lunch and definitely once you’re home, give your feet a much needed break. Get into flatter shoes and out of the heels.

Strengthen Your Ankles

Calf raises and other exercises that strengthen your ankles are recommended to help counteract the effects of the heels. Specifically the researchers recommended heel raises and heel drops. An extra bonus is that your calves will look great too.

Heel raises are performed by simply rising up onto your toes from a flat footed position.

Heel drops are performed by standing on the edge of a stair and slowly lowering your heels as low as you can over the edge.

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Leave the Heels in the Locker Room

Working out in heels has become a recent fad, with the Stiletto workout and Heel Hop, but those probably are not the best options for your foot, ankle and knee health.

Because heels are inherently unstable resulting in changes in posture and movement mechanics working out in them will only lead to greater impact forces across the already compromised muscles and joints and a greater chance for injury. According to Dr. Cronin, the impact forces created are: “… concentrated over a small region of the foot in high heels, creating regions of very high pressure,” leading to foot pain. Moreover, due to balance and biomechanics being compromised, running in heels is also “a very inefficient way to move.”

So lace up your cross trainers and leave the heels in the locker.

Go With Shorter,Thicker, Heels If Possible

Wearing heels for 40+ hours a week is already putting a lot of strain on the ankles and feet. Styles with taller and or thinner heels add to that strain. Taller heels lead to greater ankle inversion and thinner heels are more unstable. If you’re going to wear heels religiously, simply opting for shorter and/or thicker heels may help mitigate some of these negative effects.

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While a shorter and/or thicker heel won’t help strengthen your ankle or improve your ankle mobility and are still damaging, shorter, thicker heels may lead to less severe changes in gait and posture. Therefore they would be less damaging to the structures of the lower body.

While they might not be the best choice for foot health and are probably keeping your podiatrist in business, heels aren’t going away any time soon. Despite all of the pain that they’ve caused women over the years, no one is giving up their “cute shoes”. The good news is, if you can make some of these simple changes to your routine, you can alleviate and maybe undo some of the damage that wearing heels has done to your body.

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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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2. Stress Relief

Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

3. Improved Sleep

Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

4. Appetite Control

Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

7. Mosquito Repellant

Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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8. Pain Relief

While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

9. The New Anti-Viral

Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

10. Improved Cognitive Function

Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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11. Money Saving

With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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