Heels for a Workout???
When hearing the idea of fitness in heels most conjure up thoughts of people doing jumping jacks or lifting weights in high shoes. Well, that’s just ridiculous and I wouldn’t recommend it. But let’s face it; women like shoes and many of us like to wear high heels even if it’s not the best idea for your feet or back.
My fondness for heels and interest in fitness allowed me to notice Vegas Stiletto Fitness on the Internet and I was intrigued. I invited the creator Lisa Romero, to Denver for what I thought would be a one-time special event class. I soon realized it was more than just squeezing your feet into stilettos. For many women putting on heels and learning to walk and dance was like Cinderella going to the ball. A fantasy!
For moms or women who spend their days in flats and sneakers the idea of putting on heels and strutting like a model is provocative. Dancing in them unimaginable. Yet, when they take this class they realize it is possible and it feels good. I like to call it exercise for the self-esteem.
When you put on heels you are literally lifted up and start to feel more confident.
Lisa says the word “stiletto” in the title of her class represents high self-esteem and assurance more than the height of the heel. In the VSF class as the women are shown how to stand and walk like a movie star on the red carpet they start to smile, pulling back their shoulders and tightening their bellies while walking in rhythm to music.
After warming up and getting comfortable in their shoes the participants are taught an easy dance routine using a chair. It’s not only an opportunity to spend some of the class off the feet but executing moves that engage the core and upper body.
While the class is mostly about having fun and feeling flirty there is a real element of fitness outside of stressing your feet.
- Walking in heels requires balance, which comes from a strong core.
- Legs and ankles are also strengthened.
- Dancing adds a greater challenge for movement, coordination and memory as you learn choreography.
- You begin to gain a greater respect for high-heel icon Beyonce (as if you needed another reason to idolize her).
There is a demand for classes teaching dance in heels because that’s what Beyonce and pop singers hire for videos and stage shows. How else would anyone get practice doing those tricky moves without trying it in a class? As a result there are heel classes popping up around Los Angeles and other big cities where these dancers are hired.
According to original Pussycat Doll and choreographer Lindsley Allen, dancing in heels is a technique and an art. She says in the “Hollywood Connection” a heel dancer must have good technique like a Pointe ballet dancer with strength, alignment and length.
For participants of Vegas Stiletto Fitness it’s simply a night away from a mundane routine where they can feel sassy and feminine. At the recent annual Vegas Stiletto Fitness Ladies Night Out in Las Vegas, friends Lois and Sharla giggled and laughed as they executed maneuvers called Marilyn Monroe and Beyonce that mimic the stars’ iconic moves. Sharla shared that since starting VSF classes with me in Denver she is much more aware of her posture and how she stands especially when taking photographs.
Like Sharla and Lois you might not have any intention of auditioning for a Madonna video but you might like to gain some confidence walking or trying a dance move in heels.
For you, here are some tips for walking and dancing in heels.
Train Your Feet:
If you’re planning a night of dancing or lots of walking in your heels, like any sport you must prepare your body. Leading up that day spend 10 minutes and eventually more walking around in your heels, breaking in the shoes and getting used to the feeling. Additionally, exercises strengthening the ankles, feet and legs are helpful. Try heel lifts by elevating on to your toes and lowering heels back to the ground 10 times. Then do the same standing on a step and letting your heels hang over the edge.
Choose Your Shoes Wisely:
Many doctors warn against wearing heels more than two inches high. Ballroom or character shoes are ideal for dancing as they have a lower heel, wider toe area and cushioning under the ball of the foot where most of the weight is carried. But if you’re sticking with the latest fashion trends look for high shoes with some of these attributes but also have a strong sturdy heel. A wider heel provides more stability. A strap across the ankle also offers more security.
Use Your Core:
When walking in heels take some of the work out of your feet by using your core. Tighten your belly, lift your chest, pull your shoulders back and lead with your hips. Look out over the horizon, not at your feet. When standing still, by all means avoid slouching and bending the knees.
Remember when in stilettos you should never be in a hurry.
It increases your chance of falling and lacks grace. Try to relax your face and smile. As prominent 19th century Australian illustrator Harriet Morgan said, “Strong women wear their pain like stilettos, no matter how much it hurts all you see is the beauty of it.”
Consult with your doctor about wearing heels or taking a heel class. If you’re told heels are not a good idea, you can still attend a VSF class in flat shoes.
Dancing in Heels: https://www.hcdance.com/dancing-in-heels-lindsley-allen/
Vegas Stiletto Fitness: www.VegasStilettoFitness.com