Millions of people, especially those who work in the service sector and manufacturing, have to stand for long hours, as part of their job requirements. However, prolonged standing can lead to various health issues and complications such as varicose veins, back pain, neck pain, inflammation in the veins, fatigue, discomfort, cardiovascular problems as well as pregnancy complications. As much as you may not be in a position to change your career or the nature of your work, there are various measures that you can use, to minimize the negative effects that come with prolonged standing. If your work entails standing for long, here are some tips that can help to make your job and your life more pleasant.
Maintain Proper Posture
Maintaining proper standing posture is key to preventing long-term damage to your joints, ligaments, and muscles. A good standing posture entails keeping your shoulders aligned with your hips and spine, keeping the chin parallel to the floor, even bodyweight distribution and keeping the spine straight and neutral, with no arching or flexing. According to the American Chiropractic Association, good posture will enable proper functioning of your muscles and joints, which will in turn help to prevent musculoskeletal disorders such as tenosynovitis, arthritis and muscle fatigue.
Alternate Between Standing and Sitting
While moderate standing can help to burn calories and engage your thigh muscles, prolonged standing on a single position can lead to leg pain, lower back pain, and various cardiovascular problems. To avoid such problems, it’s highly advisable to change your posture regularly. For instance, if you are receiving a call, you don’t have to do it while standing. You should use this opportunity to sit for a few minutes and let your muscles relax. Also, regular pacing will promote blood circulation in your body while helping to prevent muscle stiffness.
Wear the Right Shoes
Wearing the right pair of shoes can go a long way in alleviating the pain, fatigue, and discomfort that come from standing all day. A good pair of shoes for standing all day should provide the right amount of comfort and arch support. Therefore, you need to ensure that you wear the right shape and size of shoes. If the shoes are too small for your feet, they may leave you with foot cramps and blisters, among other issues. Also, they may cause your feet to swell, as a result of poor circulation.
When buying shoes, it’s highly advisable to do so after 4 pm. During that time, your feet will have already expanded to their maximum. Also, if you have to sacrifice style for functionality, then you should do it without hesitation. There is no point in wearing uncomfortable shoes just to appear stylish. If you have wide feet, then you should stick to shoes specifically designed for wide feet. Furthermore, you should stay away from studs, heels, high soles as well as other types of tall shoes. Such shoes will not only promote imbalance but they may also harm your legs and feet. Knee pain, foot strains, Achilles tendonitis, and tight calf muscles can all be caused by an imbalanced standing position.
Professional clogs, running shoes, and comfortable sneakers are among the best shoes for standing all day. Apart from being lightweight and comfortable, these types of shoes also provide adequate cushioning and arch support, thus making your workday more manageable. Orthotics and shoe inserts can also provide additional cushioning and support while helping to correct pronation issues.
Use Compression Stockings
Compression stockings are also an effective method of alleviating the fatigue and strain that comes with prolonged standing. When worn, they increase support on the talon, soles, and heels, thus helping to prevent bad circulation and minimize swelling. They also help to reduce other painful and annoying conditions that may arise from standing all day. And the good news is that you can find them almost anywhere – from general stores to online marketplaces, pharmacies to medical supply stores. Compression stockings are available in various types and designs. Therefore, you simply need to choose a type that aligns with the problem that you want to address.
Standing on a single spot for long periods will lead to muscle stiffness. And that stiffness can lead to foot and leg pain, as well as trouble walking, among other issues. And that’s why it’s highly advisable to stretch frequently if your work involves standing all day. Stretching will help the muscles in your feet and legs to relax. It will also soothe and boost circulation, thus helping to relieve pain and fatigue. Stretching will also give your body a much-needed break, thus helping to prevent common complications like muscle fatigue and varicose veins. Calf raises, runner stretch and regular stretches are among the exercises that you can try during and after your work.
Change the Way You Stand
Changing the way you stand as you work will help to engage and utilize the different muscles in your legs and upper body, thus helping to reduce excessive pressure on your feet. It will also reduce fatigue and boredom. There are different approaches to how you can change the way you stand. For instance, you can use an anti-fatigue standing mat at work, instead of standing on hard, cold floors. According to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health Safety, anti-fatigue mats will provide a cushioning effect to your feet, thus helping to reduce foot and leg disorders, for people who stand in one position for long. Anti-fatigue floor mats can also help to lower the stress on your muscles and joints, thus allowing blood to circulate more freely and evenly throughout your legs and feet.
Take Care of Your Feet at Home
As much as wearing the right shoes, stretching regularly and maintaining proper posture will help to minimize the stiffness and swelling that comes with prolonged standing, these interventions will not relieve the pain and discomfort completely. And that’s why you should find a way to soothe your legs and feet when you reach home from work. There are plenty of things that you can do at home to relieve muscle fatigue, strain, and pain that comes with standing all day at work. For instance, you can prepare an Epsom salt footbath, and soak your feet in it for around 10 to 15 minutes. The Epsom salt foot soak will help to reduce the swelling on your legs and feet. It may also eliminate any pain or fatigue that you may be feeling in your feet, legs, back or other areas of your body. Massaging your feet, heels, toes, and soles will also go a long way in helping to reduce the pain and fatigue.
Whether you spend your entire day walking hospital corridors, working in a professional kitchen or on a construction site, the above tips can help to prevent pain, injuries, fatigue, and discomfort that arise from standing all day at work.