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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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