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Exercising in Heels is More for Fashion than Fitness

We’ve all seen it, the little girl (let’s say she’s four) clomping around the house in her mother’s high heels. For some women, an obsession with shoes starts young and for others, it doesn’t emerge until the teen years, if ever. Personally, I always saw my mother in her high heels and the clicking sound they made as she walked across the floor made me think she was the most beautiful and powerful woman in the world. I love that sound even now and regardless of how irrational it seems to you, it makes me feel gorgeous.

When I first heard about high heeled workouts, my initial reaction was “heck yes!” and then reality set in. The fact is, working out in high heels adds an entirely new level of possible injuries to your regimen. Consistently struttin’ your stuff in heels has been linked to weak muscles in the calves and ankles. Back and knee injuries also seem to be more common in women who regularly wear heels. Besides the more complicated physiological dangers, something as simple as your balance can be compromised when raised up on high heels. So then why the sudden surge in heel-based exercise classes?

Like nearly everything in the health arena, there are conflicting studies about this topic. Many women are seeing improved muscle tone in their legs, abdominal and pelvic regions thanks to high-heeled workouts like pole dancing and cardio striptease. Similar to toning shoes, working out in high heels has strong supporters on both sides of the debate.

Please understand that you can take all the same exercise classes but opt out of wearing heels in order to reduce your risk of injury. If you do choose to wear heels, never go any higher than three inches and educate yourself regarding proper stretching for your feet, legs, hips and back after each high heel wearing exercise. The added confidence and muscle tone you could gain from wearing high heels (whether you’re working out or not) won’t be worth it if you end up in crutches.

July 10th, 2011

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