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A Word About Calves

Calves are the bane of my existence. Actually, lots of women are concerned with their calves. Mine are skinny. I work them like crazy and they’re still skinny. I ran track in High School AND in college. They never grew any bigger.

Whenever I try on boots, it looks like I’m trying on my mother’s rain galoshes. They flop around whenever I try to walk to the mirror. Actually, I never make it to the mirror if I can look down the knee-high boots and see my ankles. The only time my calves look half-way decent is when I’m in high heels. That’s not very often in my business. Can you imagine YOUR personal trainer showing up in high heels? A few years ago, there was a run (pun intended) of high-heeled sneakers, but that didn’t last long. It’s kind of hard to do squats in these, even with the rubber soles and lace up fronts!

Calves are actually a set of two muscle groups-the gastrocnemius and the soleus. Some experts consider them one muscle. The Gastrocnemius is in two parts, the medial head and lateral head. In normal language, it’s the teardrop shaped muscle that you see when you go up on your toes and flex. The Soleus is the other muscle in the back part of the lower leg. It runs from just below the knee to the heel, and is involved in standing and walking.

One has to be careful when wearing high heels too much. They can actually be detrimental to your calves. Watch women who wear at least 3” heels every day and I can almost guarantee they’ll be walking funny. Seriously! Women who always wear high heels tend to have calves that are foreshortened. They can’t straighten their knees, so they look like they’re treading VERY carefully no matter where they’re going. They won’t be able to stand up straight when standing still and actually have more trouble wearing flats.

So YOU won’t have this happen to you, it’s important to stretch your calves at least 3 times a week.
Stand at the edge of a stair, with the balls of your feet on the stairs, heels off. Holding on to a wall or the bannister, let your heels drop as far down as they can go. Keep your knees locked. Slowly come up and repeat the action 5 or 6 times. To increase the stretch, put one whole foot on the stairs and just let the other one perform the stretch. You’ll feel it more.

Make sure you rotate your shoes. Don’t wear stupidly high heels every day. Stretch your calves every now and then and keep up your walking and cardio. That will guarantee you won’t have LARGE calves, either. Unfortunately, it won’t do much for skinny calves. I’m living proof. Darn it.

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