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New fitness classes are springing up all the time. Some seem sensible and some just defy belief. On the face of it, high heel workouts seem to fit the second category, but what’s the real story?

How many times have you gone out in your favorite pair of heels, thinking that you look fierce, feminine and fabulous, only to end the night hobbling around, feeling like you've run a marathon. Over cobbles. Up a big hill. Twice. ?

Heels may look great, increase your confidence, make you look taller, more slender and feel sexy, but let’s face it, they’re not the most comfortable of footwear.

Fierce, feminine and fabulous are one thing, but what about the fourth “F” – fitness?

When on a night out though, you can’t really wear your slippers, walking shoes or sneakers, no matter how comfortable they might be. Even a pair of flat pumps is a no no for some women, so what can you do?

To wear high heels pain free and ensure you’re not walking with a limp after 20 minutes, that fourth F is critical – you need high heel fitness.

And that’s where these classes come in. If you’re paying out potentially hundreds of dollars for a pair of designer heels, you want to be able to get the most from them and wear them whenever and wherever you want. But this isn’t going to happen if you can’t take more than a few steps without being in agony.

Simply wearing high heels is an exercise in itself. You need balance, strength in your calves, quads and abs and great core stability. If you spend most of your days in flat shoes, switching to heels on the odd occasion is a real challenge.

That’s the big benefit high heel exercise classes offer. The calorie burn and fitness aspect of the sessions is almost secondary, as the main aim is to get you functionally fit for wearing heels. As impractical as they may be, high heels aren’t going away any time soon – they’re firmly cemented in fashion history and are here to stay, so you may as well get good at wearing them.

As wearing heels taxes your muscles in so many different ways, spending 45 minutes to an hour moving around in them really conditions your muscles and gives you a great new workout challenge. This is of course provided that you move properly and maintain good posture while going through the class. A good instructor should be able to offer you tips and constructive criticism on your technique and pick up when you’re doing something wrong.

Moving properly in heels, you should really be feeling your calves, butt, hamstrings and core working by the time the class finishes. 

If you’ve got any lower back or shin pain or burning feet, chances are you need to take a look at you technique, or speak to your instructor about where you’re going wrong.

Another massive advantage these classes have over regular workout classes is that they’re fun, and isn’t that a big part of what training is all about?

If you’re not enjoying your training, you’re far less likely to stick to it. There really is no point partaking in a class if you hate every minute of it, so finding something you enjoy is a godsend. Hopefully your high heel class will leave you feeling tired out, but invigorated, happy, and ready to go and kill the catwalk, or look like a superstar on your next office night out or dinner date.

If you enjoy high heel classes, feel you’re increasing your fitness, notice an improvement in muscle strength and posture and burn extra calories to boot, keep on attending.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • "These Workouts Offer a Chance to Really Pump It Up"
  • By Dr. Erica E Phillips
  • Published on February 1, 2013
  • Accessed on May 9th, 2013
  • Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323854904578261831621279340.html

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