Stiletto booties and Sky-high gladiator heels. Spy Bags loaded down with fifty must-haves and jam-packed carry-ons. I don't know about you, but MY body takes a BEATING from my accessories. And while the spa pedi and cursory back rub might be decent quick fixes, I do find myself increasingly concerned by the long term effects of my fashion decisions.
Mitchell Yass, physical therapist and author of Overpower Pain: The Strength Training Program that Stops Pain without Drugs or Surgery, believes that women must practice preventative measures – specifically targeted strength training – if they want to rock their favorite accessories now , but avoid the agony later.
Mitch’s prescription for slaves to fashion who simply will not scrimp on style?
- If you want to wear super high heels (exhibit A, above), know that this will cause your center of mass to move forward, putting stress on your knees and potentially straining the muscles that support them, creating knee pain. You need to strengthen the glutes (buttocks) and hamstrings (back thigh muscles). These muscles are hip extensors which are responsible for keeping the torso upright. The strengthening of these muscles will prevent the torso from being drawn forward due to the severe angle created under the foot by wearing a super high heel.
- An easy exercise is the Straight-Leg Dead Lift using a barbell or dumbbells. Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart and your toes pointed slightly out. Hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs with your palms facing your thighs, your knees slightly bent, your back slightly arched and your elbows straight through the entire motion. Slowly bring the weight down your legs, keeping it as close to your legs as possible throughout the entire motion, until you feel a pull in your hamstrings. Rise and repeat.
- Carrying a heavy bag increases the load on an arm and shoulder. The support of the arm is created by the muscles that attach from the neck and spine to the shoulder and shoulder blade such as the upper traps and muscles between the shoulder blades (interscapular muscles). Strengthening of these muscles must be achieved to support this additional load. If not, the potential for creating impingement or catching of one of the tendons that run through the shoulder joint is very possible. The other potential is that one of the muscles that support this weight including the upper traps could strain. This would create neck pain and very possibly headaches.
- You can prevent this through Military Presses. Start with the weights at shoulder height with palms facing forward and then begin to lift them overhead until your elbows are just short of locking. Then slowly lower the weights to the point where the elbows are just below the line of your shoulders.