Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Heels I

If you have a need of a future topic, maybe quads and heels; a penchant of mine! wrote Aiden, FMS reader and, in June, our first guest editor (see Crossfit Week).

Let's face it, who doesn't have a penchant for muscular legs in heels? However lovely they may look in bare feet or flat shoes or trainers or any other kind of footwear for that matter, heels accentuate those big bad thighs and calves and hamstrings just that little bit more. In fact, an alternative title for this series of posts was (in the end, we decided, the far too long) 'In These Shoes My Legs Look Even Better'.

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And this isn't just my pet theory. According to one fitness website, Wearing high heels isn’t just a fashion statement. High heels change your posture, causing you to activate the muscles of your legs and pelvis. As a result, high heels don’t just make you look slimmer and taller; they can also help you tone the muscles of your legs and pelvic floor. So they really do make those legs look better!

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The article goes on to extol the three main virtues of the high heel. Number one is benefit to the pelvic floor muscle. High-heeled shoes cause you to tuck your pelvis in in order to counteract the affects of the forward lean on your spine. This can help to strengthen your abdominal muscles as well as the muscles of the pelvic floor. These muscles can weaken with age, childbirth, weight gain and chronic coughing. Many women perform Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, but wearing modest high heels on a regular basis has the same effect. You rarely see muscle women wearing what you'd call 'modest' high heels, but anyway...

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Virtue number two is improved circulation. Wearing high heels improves circulation in your legs, which can reduce swelling and the accumulation of fluids, especially in the ankles. Wearing high heels forces you to engage your leg muscles, which helps stimulate the veins in your legs to move more blood and fluids back up toward the heart. Who knew?!

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And virtue number three is improved posture, especially for those with a spine that lacks enough forward curve. High-heeled shoes can have a positive effect on posture for some. Some people experience low back pain due to a deformity of the lumbar spine, in which the spine doesn’t possess enough forward curve. If your lumbar spine lacks a natural forward curve, wearing modest high heels, of about one and a half inches in height, can help relieve muscle tension and pain in the lower back. There we go with the 'modest' again...

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FMS doesn't just base their research on one article that says what FMS wants it to say though. Well, not usually! We found plenty of articles (all written by women incidentally) that confirmed that high heels not only show off that lovely muscle, but can also actively build it. Heels actually help build strong calf muscles. The angle of the foot causes your calf to work harder (think of it like doing heel raises all day long, you are working the same muscles), read one example. They give shape to your calf muscles and elongate the look of legs to make you appear longer and leaner, said another.

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You probably didn't need convincing that high heels were 'good for' muscular legs, but it is something to bear in mind the next time you find yourself shoe shopping with your better half. Just don't expect her to look quite as good as Monica, Anne, Andrea et al once she's got them on. Although if she keeps wearing them, you never know...

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Enjoy! More heels to come before the month is out...

1 comment:

  1. Anne Freitas is amazing!
    I've always thought her legs were her best body part!