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?
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While I’m not religious in a conventional sense, I consider myself spiritual in that I am a seeker of “the meaning of life.” That said, I think maybe even I’m offended by this story… Christian pole dancing?
Women in Spring, Texas, just outside of Houston, have taken the popular fitness trend of pole dancing and put their own twist on it.
The idea is called “Pole Fitness for Jesus,” and if that doesn’t get your attention, I’m not sure you have a pulse. The program was started by Crystal Deans, owner and class instructor of Best Shape of Your Life.
I presume it’s her real name, but Crystal also happens to be an ex-strip, I mean, dancer. It’s something that she gave up years ago.
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Weight-bearing activities that work against gravity — aerobic activities like walking, running, cross-country skiing, dancing, skating and stair-climbing — use proportionately more calories at a given level of effort than swimming, cycling or water aerobics.
The more muscle groups involved in your activities, the more calories you are likely to burn. That is why working out against gravity uses more calories than non-weight-bearing activities. On the other hand, because activities like swimming put less stress on weight-bearing joints, many people can do them for longer periods, making up for the lower caloric burn.
If your workout includes hills (real ones or on exercise equipment), you will use more calories per minute than doing the same activity on level ground. But if you engage in resistance exercises — working out with weights or on machines that strengthen various muscle groups — you may gain several pounds of muscle that partly offset the loss of body fat.
In other words, you may lose fewer pounds than if you expended the same number of calories on an aerobic activity (cardio) like brisk walking or swimming, but you will be stronger and better toned. With greater muscle mass, your basic metabolic rate will rise and you will burn more calories all day and night. And since muscle holds less water and takes up less room than the equivalent weight of fat, by shedding fat and gaining muscle you can lose inches and sizes without losing actual pounds on the scale.
Keep in mind, though, that the time spent doing resistance exercise burns fewer calories than if the same time were spent on aerobic activities (cardio).
If you have a fitness question, send them to Matt!