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.
Change Your Posture
Wearing high heeled shoes changes your center of gravity and accentuates the forward curve of your spine. This means that you have to tuck your pelvis and engage the muscles of your legs in order to counteract the forward lean that high heeled shoes cause. You’ll especially need to engage your calf muscles in order to walk in high heels.
High heeled shoes cause you to tuck your pelvis 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.
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.
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.
While high heels can benefit muscle tone in the legs, abdomen and pelvic floor, you should be aware that they carry their own set of risks. Heels more than four inches high are not only impossible to walk in, but alter your posture so drastically that you can’t get any real muscle-toning benefit from wearing the shoes.
Wearing high heels daily for a long period of time can compact the spine, especially for those whose spines already curve forward more than normal. For some, wearing high heels causes stiffness in the back. It can even lead to nerve compression, damage, pain and muscle weakness.
Wearing high heels regularly can also damage your knees, and increase your risk of arthritis in the knees and spine. They can contribute to the development of foot problems like bunions in the metatarsal joint at the ball of the foot. Standing in high heels for a long period of time can also reduce blood flow to your brain, depriving your brain of oxygen and leading to fatigue and decreased alertness.