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Five Reasons You Shouldn’t Wear High Heels Anymore

Five Reasons You Shouldn’t Wear High Heels Anymore

Have you ever seen the “Popeye” cartoon when Popeye asks for Olive Oyl’s skate size so he can take her skating, and she replies “I take a three and a half, but an eight feels so good”? I can’t help thinking of this scene every time I squeeze into my favorite pair of heels. Women wear high heels for any number of reasons, whether to look taller, to accent the shape of their legs, or to experience the surge of power associated with the click-click of heels on tile. I’m particularly guilty of this last one; I always wear heels on the first day of a new semester because My logic is that it will intimidate my students more if I can glare down at them from an impressive height. It never works, but I continue to use the theory to rationalize shoe-shopping as a work expense.

Here’s the thing though. I’ve never owned a perfectly comfortable pair of heels, nor has any woman I know. Yet these persistent purchases speak to the saying that being beautiful is hard work. The truth is that research continually tells us that we’re doing our feet no favors when we wear heels, and here are five reasons why.

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1. Wearing heels can cause arthritis

When we think about wearing heels, we think about aching feet and blisters, but ladies, have you thought about what bearing the burden of beautiful shoes does to your knees? A Harvard study found that wearing two-inch heels places 23 % more strain on the inner knee than wearing flats. This strain pushes the knee forward to accommodate the pressure needed to keep women balanced when they walk or stand. This research suggests that wearing heels contributes at least partially to the fact that women are twice as likely as men to develop osteoarthritis in their knees. Aside from the fact that this finding points to a troubling implication about the stress that beauty standards put on women’s bodies, the price of a pair of stilettos doesn’t seem worth the price of knee surgery does it?

2. Wearing heels can damage leg and foot muscles

When you wear high heels, the shoe points the heel of the foot in an unnaturally upward position, which shortens the Achilles tendon—a band of muscles at the base of the calf. The shortening of this tendon as well as the shortening of other calf muscles can cause chronic leg pain and muscle spasms. According to osteopathic physician Dr. Natalie A. Nevins, the tightening of these muscles can also cause plantar fasciitis, the inflammation of a band of muscles in the bottom of the foot called the plantar fascia. If you must wear heels (as one in ten women do at least three times a week) doctors recommend switching to flats at some point in the day because the long-term tightening of foot and leg muscles, which makes stretching them more difficult, can eventually cause wearing flats to become uncomfortable as well.

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3. Wearing heels can cause sciatica

Since wearing heels requires you to shift your body weight to accommodate the tilting of the foot, the arching of your back and pelvis puts pressure on lower back muscles. According to Dr. Carrie Bowler, women who wear high heels frequently suffer from sciatica—chronic leg pain or numbness that can make standing, sitting, or walking extremely uncomfortable and even excruciatingly painful. “As muscles in the groin and hip flexors tighten,” says Bowler, “lower back and gluteal muscles compensate and can go into chronic spasm, creating pressure on the sciatic nerve.”

4. Wearing heels can strain your neck

Dr. Bowler also points out that the altered posture you have to adopt to accommodate wearing heels can cause just as much damage to your upper body as your lower body. “An overarched back,” she says, “can cause a forward head posture, which strains neck muscles.” So the next time you slip on a pair of heels and get ready to hold your head high during a big presentation at work, you might do well to keep your feet planted firmly (and flatly) on the ground.

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5. Wearing heels can cause bone damage

I’m not just talking about the increased likelihood of breaking your ankle when you’re teetering around town on 4-inch stilettos because of the balance issues we’ve already talked about. According to a report in the Washington Post, podiatrists say that walking too long in heels can cause stress fractures or cracks in the bones of the feet. Again, if you regularly walk long distances or stand for long periods of time throughout the day, occasionally slipping into a pair of flats can help to reduce the strain on the bones of the feet.

In short, if you walk away with one piece of advice from all of this research, be kind to your body the next time you think about pumping up your new outfit with a pair of heels. Your feet work hard to get you where you need to go in life, and they’re the only pair you’ve got. They deserve a rest.

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Featured photo credit: Woman’s High-Heeled Shoes via Pixabay.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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