Our distant ancestors didn’t wear high heels or platform shoes. When they needed an elevation to view their prey, they climbed a tree. Constantly wearing high heels can cause all sorts of problems for our body. It’s kind of obvious really, that the more time we can spend without shoes on, the better it must be for our posture and our body. And even for us gents, constantly wearing a half-inch heel shoe is not natural for the body either. That said, this is one of the smaller principles, and if wearing heels makes you feel more confident and less stressed, then continue to do so. However, whenever we find ourselves alone, we should try to go barefoot as often as possible.
There is also another reason for ditching the shoes and socks, and that is because it can reduce the chances of getting fungus under our toenails. My two big toes were a real mess and have been for many years. However, taking a leaf out of my own book, I have made a real effort to remain barefooted for as long as possible in the past two years and I frequently wear open-toe sandals in my office. The results have been fantastic. I think the combination of exposing my toes to fresh air - and also getting my vitamin D levels boosted - have both contributed to my nails returning to full health. I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise because, if you think about it logically, fungi grow in dark damp places - and that’s exactly what my feet were experiencing while covered by socks and shoes. If you have to wear socks, then it’s advisable to wear those made from bamboo fabric, as they contain both antifungal and antibacterial properties. When it comes to sitting down, we simply do too much of it! And what’s worse is that we’re not actually very good at it. Recent research has suggested that those of us who work in offices now spend more time sitting than those who are retired! On the NHS website it says, “Studies have linked excessive sitting with being overweight and obese, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and early death. Sitting for long periods is thought to slow the metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat”.
The Guardian newspaper ran an article in 2014 suggesting that, “We spend half our lives sitting down – and studies show it increases our risk of dying from practically any disease you can think of. But there is something we can do about it – we can simply stand up.
Research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that reducing sitting time increases the length of your telomeres”. What are telomeres? They turn out be a cap that sits at the end of each DNA strand that helps protect our chromosomes from fraying. Picture them like the little plastic tips (called ‘aglets’) that stop our shoelaces from fraying. If we spend too much time sitting then we apparently damage our telomeres, preventing our cells from doing their job properly.
In January 2017, The Daily Telegraph’s website stated, “Elderly people who spend most of their time sitting down age significantly quicker than more active contemporaries, according to new research. A study of 1,500 pensioners found those who kept to a sedentary position for 10 hours or more a day and who did less than 40 minutes moderate physical activity had the body of people eight years older”.
You would think that, because we practice the art of sitting for so many hours each day, we must be pretty good at it - but as you have just read, we’re not. In fact, we’re rubbish at it! We slouch, round the shoulders, and put all sorts of stress in the wrong areas. It must be something that we slowly develop, because I have noticed that my four-year- old son Louie sits with a perfectly straight back. I am certainly no physiotherapist, so I won’t go into chapter and verse about how we should sit properly, other than recommend that when you get five minutes, you go to Google and type in ‘how to sit properly’ or ‘good posture’ and you will find lots of articles. Plus we will be adding a lot more articles on Health Results shortly.