Health

HIGH HEEL FITNESS

Tips on taking the ache out of your step

Photo by Anthea Simms

Photo by Anthea Simms

Photo by Anthea Simms

Q: What’s the secret to wearing really high heels?

A: “Strong muscles in the feet, legs and lower back,” says Canadian-born celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza, who counts Jessica Alba, Halle Berry and Anne Hathaway as clients. If you’re aiming for a confident strut à la Lady Gaga or Sarah Jessica Parker, she suggests doing at-home exercises to strengthen your feet and adding extra lower-body and core exercises to your gym routine.

For your feet, Braganza recommends adding the following to your daily activities – perhaps while watching TV or reading your favourite style blog – three times a week. Start by warming up with ankle circles by rotating your ankle in one direction five times then in the other direction five times. Repeat this three times and then switch legs. Next, do flex and points: flex your foot (your toes should be reaching toward your knee) and hold for three seconds. Then point your toes for three seconds. Repeat this fives times per leg. Lastly, do calf raises. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and rise up onto your toes then slowly lower back down. Do this 20 times.

To strengthen your legs and lower back, add exercises to your gym routine that focus on the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. “These include squats, lunges, step ups, and hamstring curls,” says Braganza. “And don’t forget core work, like crunches, and back extensions to help with posture while you’re standing in heels.”

After a day in high heels – like Alexander McQueen’s coveted 10-inch aliens – you can ease your discomfort with stretches, like ankle circles, and self-massage, says Braganza. When massaging focus on your arches and your calves. For extra relief, use a massage cream with peppermint or cinnamon essential oils to refresh aching muscles.