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High Heels Shorten Women's Leg Muscles (19th July, 2010)


 

Scientists have found out that women who wear high-heel shoes make the calf muscles shorter. The heels also give many women pain in their legs when they take them off and walk. The researchers tested different women aged between 20 and 50 who wore heels that were 5cm or higher. The research, which covered a two-year period, also looked at women who never wore high heels. The research team used ultrasound to measure the length of the fibres in the calf muscles. Their results showed that the muscle fibres of high-heel wearers were 13 per cent shorter than those in the non-high-heel-wearing women. Lead researcher Professor Marco Narci said: "This confirmed the hypothesis that when you place the muscle in a shorter position, the fibres become shorter.”

The researchers also found that women who regularly wore high heels suffered more muscle aches and pains when they took their shoes off. This is because their muscles are being overstretched for long periods and do not have time to relax. Professor Narci said it was harder for women to stretch their feet out when they took their shoes off. He did advise women to do simple stretching exercises to relieve the pain. "If you stand on your tip toes and lower your heels up and down again it will stretch out the tendons making it easier to walk without heels,” he said. He did not suggest women stop wearing high heels but recommended wearing flat shoes a little more often."Fashion is intended to be uncomfortable and none of the women in the study planned to give up their high heels," he said.


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. HIGH HEELS: Walk around the class and talk to other students about high heels. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

scientists / shoes / muscles / pain in your legs / ultrasound / results / hypothesis / regularly / suffered / relax / stretching / exercise / standing on tip toes / fashion

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. FASHION: Good or bad? Complete this table and talk about it with your partner(s). Change partners and share what you heard. Change and share again.

 

Good or bad?

High heels

 

Tattoos

 

Body piercing

 

Jewellery

 

Make-up

 

Fur

 

4. FASHION: Students A strongly believe it is a good thing; Students B strongly believe it’s stupid.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. ACHES AND PAINS: Which are the worst? Rank these and share your rankings with your partner. Change partners and share your rankings again.

  • Calf
  • Head
  • Back
  • Stomach
  • Head
  • Finger
  • Heart
  • Toe

6. SHOES: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘shoes’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a.

Wearing high heels makes women’s legs shorter.

T / F

b.

Researchers tested between 20 and 50 women over a five-year period.

T / F

c.

Researchers used a special technique using sounds to test muscles.

T / F

d.

High heels can make muscles 13 per cent shorter.

T / F

e.

Women suffer more pain when their high heels are on.

T / F

f.

High heels help to relax muscles over a period of time.

T / F

g.

A professor advised women to sit down and stretch their toes.

T / F

h.

The professor said fashion wasn’t meant to be about comfort.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

1.

found out

a.

recommend

2

tested

b.

revealed

3.

covered

c.

frequently

4.

showed

d.

analyzed

5.

place

e.

meant

6.

regularly

f.

quit

7.

advise

g.

discovered

8.

relieve

h.

put

9.

intended

i.

ease

10.

give up

j.

stretched over

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1.

high-heel shoes make the calf

a.

year period

2

The heels also give many

b.

stretch their feet

3.

covered a two-

c.

the hypothesis

4.

measure the length

d.

without heels

5.

This confirmed

e.

women pain

6.

women who regularly

f.

overstretched

7.

their muscles are being

g.

of the fibres

8.

harder for women to

h.

be uncomfortable

9.

easier to walk

i.

muscles shorter

10.

Fashion is intended to

j.

wore high heels

 

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

Scientists have ____________ out that women who wear high-heel shoes make the calf muscles ____________. The heels also give many women pain in their legs when they take them off and walk. The researchers tested different women aged between 20 and 50 who ____________ heels that were 5cm or higher. The research, which covered a two-year ____________, also looked at women who never wore high heels. The research team used ultrasound to measure the ____________ of the fibres in the calf muscles. Their results showed that the muscle fibres of high-heel ____________ were 13 per cent shorter than those in the non-high-heel-wearing women. Lead researcher Professor Marco Narci said: "This ____________ the hypothesis that when you place the muscle in a shorter ____________, the fibres become shorter.”

 

 

 

wearers
period
position
shorter
confirmed
found
length
wore

The researchers also ____________ that women who regularly wore high heels suffered more muscle aches and pains when they took their shoes off. This is because their muscles are ____________ overstretched for long periods and do not have time to ____________. Professor Narci said it was harder for women to stretch their feet out when they took their shoes off. He did ____________ women to do simple stretching exercises to relieve the pain. "If you stand on your ____________ toes and lower your heels up and down again it will stretch out the tendons making it easier to walk ____________ heels,” he said. He did not suggest women stop wearing high heels but recommended wearing ____________ shoes a little more often."Fashion is intended to be uncomfortable and none of the women in the study planned to ____________ up their high heels," he said.

 

 

flat
being
give
tip
found
relax
without
advise

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

Scientists _________________________ women who wear high-heel shoes make the calf muscles shorter. The heels _________________________ in their legs when they take them off and walk. The researchers tested different women aged between 20 and 50 _________________________ 5cm or higher. The research, which covered a two-year period, also looked at women who never wore high heels. The research team used ultrasound to _________________________ the fibres in the calf muscles. Their results showed that the muscle fibres of high-heel wearers were 13 per cent shorter than those in the _________________________ women. Lead researcher Professor Marco Narci said: "This confirmed the hypothesis that when you place the muscle in a shorter position, _________________________.”

The researchers also found that women _________________________ heels suffered more muscle aches and pains when they took their shoes off. This is because their muscles _________________________ for long periods and do not have time to relax. Professor Narci said it was harder for women to _________________________ when they took their shoes off. He did advise women to do simple stretching exercises to relieve the pain. "If you stand on your tip toes and _________________________ and down again it will stretch out the tendons making it easier to walk without heels,” he said. He did not suggest women stop wearing high heels but _________________________ shoes a little more often." _________________________ uncomfortable and none of the women in the study planned to give up their high heels," he said.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘high’ and ‘heel’.

high

heel

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • found
  • take
  • 5
  • used
  • 13
  • place
  • regularly
  • long
  • stretch
  • stand
  • suggest
  • uncomfortable

STUDENT HIGH HEELS SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about high heels in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

HIGH HEELS DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘high heels’?

c)

Do you care about fashion in shoes?

d)

What do you think of high heels?

e)

Do you think it matters that high heels make calf muscles shorter?

f)

What are your favourite shoes?

g)

Is it OK for men to wear high heels?

h)

Should we all wear shoes that are good for our health?

i)

Do high heels make women look better?

j)

What other dangers of high heels are there?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What aches and pains do you get?

c)

Women still wear high heels even though they get muscle pain. Why do they do this?

d)

What’s important for you when you buy shoes?

e)

Do you think high heels should carry health warnings?

f)

Do you think someone could sue a high-heel-shoe maker if they fell over and hurt themselves?

g)

What’s the highest a heel could be?

h)

What’s the earliest age people should start wearing high heels?

i)

Is fashion “intended to be uncomfortable”?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Professor Marco Narci?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

Scientists have found (1) ____ that women who wear high-heel shoes make the calf muscles shorter. The heels also give many women pain (2) ____ their legs when they take them off and walk. The researchers tested different women aged between 20 and 50 who wore heels that were 5cm or higher. The research, which (3) ____ a two-year period, also looked at women who never wore high heels. The research team used ultrasound to measure the (4) ____ of the fibres in the calf muscles. Their results showed that the muscle fibres of high-heel wearers were 13 per cent shorter than (5) ____ in the non-high-heel-wearing women. Lead researcher Professor Marco Narci said: "This confirmed the hypothesis (6) ____ when you place the muscle in a shorter position, the fibres become shorter.”

The researchers also found that women who (7) ____ wore high heels suffered more muscle aches and pains when they took their shoes off. This is because their muscles are (8) ____ overstretched for long periods and do not have time to relax. Professor Narci said it was harder for women to stretch their feet (9) ____ when they took their shoes off. He did advise women to do simple stretching exercises to (10) ____ the pain. "If you stand on your tip toes and lower your heels up and down again it will stretch out the tendons making it easier to walk without heels,” he said. He did not (11) ____ women stop wearing high heels but recommended wearing flat shoes a little more often."Fashion is intended to be uncomfortable and none of the women in the study planned to (12) ____ up their high heels," he said.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

in

(b)

up

(c)

out

(d)

on

2.

(a)

on

(b)

in

(c)

of

(d)

to

3.

(a)

covered

(b)

placed

(c)

put

(d)

smothered

4.

(a)

long

(b)

longing

(c)

longs

(d)

length

5.

(a)

these

(b)

them

(c)

those

(d)

that

6.

(a)

which

(b)

what

(c)

that

(d)

this

7.

(a)

regulars

(b)

regularly

(c)

regular

(d)

regulated

8.

(a)

being

(b)

real

(c)

sure

(d)

stretching

9.

(a)

up

(b)

out

(c)

in

(d)

over

10.

(a)

relieve

(b)

relive

(c)

relief

(d)

leave

11.

(a)

suggestion

(b)

suggested

(c)

suggestive

(d)

suggest

12.

(a)

take

(b)

stop

(c)

do

(d)

give

WRITING

Write about high heels for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about high heels. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. HIGH HEELS: Make a poster about high heels. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. FASHION: Write a magazine article about high heels. Include imaginary interviews with a fashion designer and someone who has problems because of high heels.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to a shoe designer. Ask him/her three questions about high heels. Give him/her three of your opinions on them. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

F

b.

F

c.

T

d.

T

e.

F

f.

F

g.

F

h.

T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

found out

a.

discovered

2

tested

b.

analyzed

3.

covered

c.

stretched over

4.

showed

d.

revealed

5.

place

e.

put

6.

regularly

f.

frequently

7.

advise

g.

recommend

8.

relieve

h.

ease

9.

intended

i.

meant

10.

give up

j.

quit

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

high-heel shoes make the calf

a.

muscles shorter

2

The heels also give many

b.

women pain

3.

covered a two-

c.

year period

4.

measure the length

d.

of the fibres

5.

This confirmed

e.

the hypothesis

6.

women who regularly

f.

wore high heels

7.

their muscles are being

g.

overstretched

8.

harder for women to

h.

stretch their feet

9.

easier to walk

i.

without heels

10.

Fashion is intended to

j.

be uncomfortable

GAP FILL:

High heels shorten women’s leg muscles

Scientists have found out that women who wear high-heel shoes make the calf muscles shorter. The heels also give many women pain in their legs when they take them off and walk. The researchers tested different women aged between 20 and 50 who wore heels that were 5cm or higher. The research, which covered a two-year period, also looked at women who never wore high heels. The research team used ultrasound to measure the length of the fibres in the calf muscles. Their results showed that the muscle fibres of high-heel wearers were 13 per cent shorter than those in the non-high-heel-wearing women. Lead researcher Professor Marco Narci said: "This confirmed the hypothesis that when you place the muscle in a shorter position, the fibres become shorter.”

The researchers also found that women who regularly wore high heels suffered more muscle aches and pains when they took their shoes off. This is because their muscles are being overstretched for long periods and do not have time to relax. Professor Narci said it was harder for women to stretch their feet out when they took their shoes off. He did advise women to do simple stretching exercises to relieve the pain. "If you stand on your tip toes and lower your heels up and down again it will stretch out the tendons making it easier to walk without heels,” he said. He did not suggest women stop wearing high heels but recommended wearing flat shoes a little more often."Fashion is intended to be uncomfortable and none of the women in the study planned to give up their high heels," he said.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - c

2 - b

3 - a

4 - d

5 - c

6 - c

7 - b

8 - a

9 - b

10 - a

11 - d

12 - d

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