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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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