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Down at heel…

October 3, 2009

Combining two pictures from my previous post, it’s pretty clear that ‘unlovely’ on the left has partly organised herself for one stage of running.

runheelsUnless she’s about to sprint for a bus, her organisation probably doesn’t serve her well for her situation. But it does give us a clue about why people often have the habit of pitching their weight forward when wearing high heels. It makes evolutionary sense: homo sapiens evolved long before we invented shoes and if both heels were raised, you were running. For both a quick start, and for sustained distance running, using the momentum of gravity reduces how much work you have to do to move forward. So: heels raised, mass forward, weight bearing toward the balls of the feet is a pretty handy ‘automatic’ movement pattern to learn. It’s not the only option available, as dancers of many genres know. Despite countless articles waxing lyrical about the sexy forward pelvic tilt purported to be ’caused’ by wearing high heels, any such effect is down to the movement choices (or lack thereof) of the wearer.

Which brings me to earnest “how to” information abundant on the web. Caveat emptor, people. Some suggestions are eminently sensible, some suffer from the ‘posture problem‘. That’s the kind of advice that includes any or all of the following words: hold, engage, tighten, core, stretch, tuck, pull. Most damage we do to ourselves, however unintentionally, arises from muscles not acting a a congruent way in movement, or having a static image of an how an isolated body part should be constantly positioned.

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