This day and age, many of us find ourselves sitting down most of our lives. We sit at our corporate office drone jobs and then when we get home, we are tired of sitting all day, so we simply sit some more. You’re not going to believe this, but even in this modern 21st century, there are still plenty of people who have to perform their jobs standing up all day long for long hours at their work. Think of chefs, policemen (and women), retailers, clerks of any other kind, military personnel. etc. Recent studies have shown that standing up all day long can be equally as bad for you as sitting down all day long. Just in a different way.
Standing, however, is a very natural position for your body to be in. However, if you do not have the proper support that your feet and your body require, then you are in for a whole new world of pain. It can have some very adverse affects to be standing up on shoes that do not offer good support. So if you are one of the few million people in this country, who have a job as retail assisants, factory workers, assembly line operators, concrete mixers, bank tellers, surgeons, nurses, restaurant workers or anything of the kind where you have to be standing up on your feet most of the time, then you need to take good care of your foot health.
Most people have work days of 8 hours or even longer. If you’re living in the good ole’ US of A, then you’ll know your average work day is probably around 10 hours or so. The problem is that 5 hours of standing up straight for a long time in a row, can already cause you serious health problems. You could develop lower back pain, swollen feet, painful feet, varicose veins, fatigue of the muscles, musculoskeletal disorders, and another bunch of ailments far too numerous to list all of them in this single article.
Most Common Standing Health Problems
- Plantar fasciitis
- Restricted blood flow
- Stifness in neck and shoulders
- Increased chances of arthritis in the knees and hips
- Issues in knees and joints
- Poor posture
- Stretched Achilles tendon
- For pregnant women: pre-term delivery
How Can Standing Cause Health Problems?
Plantar fasciitis is a really nasty condition of the foot, where your plantar fascia swells up and becomes inflamed. It’s incredibly painful, because the plantar fascia tendon runs from the heels of your feet all the way to the front of the foot. When you have plantar fasciitis, it can feel like you are stepping in a bucket of nails, when you get up out of bed after a long night’s sleep.
This particular condition has a number of factors that play into its development. You stand more of a chance of developing it if you are overweight, if your family members have had it in the past, or if you… you guessed it… stand up for long hours at work all day. Standing up puts pressure on your feet and will eventually trigger the plantar fascia into getting irritated, making it swell up due to inflammation and then it becomes stiff as well.
People with flat feet, who tend to need more arch support than normal/high arched people, stand a higher risk of developing this condition. Make sure to wear good shoes in order to help give you plenty of cushioning for your flat feet.
Plantar fasciitis can be cured. But it takes as long to cure as it takes to develop it. So when you notice this sharp, stinging sensation in your feet, make sure to act quickly and come up with a treatment plan, while it’s not too late yet!
If you are having to find yourself standing up in unnatural or simply tense positions, then you might suffer from muscle fatigue. This is especially true for factory workers who are manipulating products-in-production, rolling off the assembly line. If you keep this behavior up for a long time, you will start developing a chronic condition, which can cause muscles to be inflamed and painful all the time.
You’ll have to stretch from time to time in order to make sure that your muscles get a little bit of exercise every now and then. Your body wasn’t meant to be making the same motions over and over, again and again, for 10 hours per day without rest. Your muscles also need enough time to recover, otherwise the problem will still get out of hand.
Bad Posture / Slouching
When you are standing up straight all day long, then this creates pressure on certain parts of your body and joints. Most people want to alleviate some of this pressure, and will take on an unnatural position in order to do so. This leads to even more pain in the long run. You can end up looking slouched, in order to prevent your back from becoming painful.
If you abuse your own posture for weeks, months or even years, then this can result in a permanent effect on how you walk and how you stand. If this happens to you, you are a long way from home.
Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and in some cases have also become twisted. You will typically find varicose veins in legs, ankles and feet. Now to be honest, this one isn’t caused by standing alone. Gravity itself plays a role in the development of these. And there’s not much you can do about gravity. But it helps to be aware of the fact that when you are standing up at work all day, gravity will pull blood into your feet all day long as well.
Your body would like to pump the blood upwards again, but with constant downforce, it can kind of get hard. This can eventually result in such a varicose vein. One of your vessels will balloon and pop, making it the monstrosity that you wish you didn’t have because it looks unsightly. But also because it can be rather painful, and can even lead to hospitalization.
While these modern days have made employers a lot more sympathetic to pregnant women, pregnant women are in fact still required to work through the lion’s share of their pregnancies. If she didn’t work, it’d be a challenge to properly take care of her child once it arrives. Research has shown that if pregnant women stand up for about 6 hours per day, they are at a higher risk of having a pre-term delivery, which can also cause the child the be underweight.
There is also a study that shows that pregnant women shouldn’t be working for more than 25 hours per week, since this is associated with a decreased growth rate in the fetus. Since most workers spend >40 hours per week at their job, this can be tough. Doctors recommend pregnant women to cut down some working hours on their jobs in an attempt to make themselves ready for the last 3 months of their pregnancy.
Contrary to what most people think, standing up for hours a day can be pretty detrimental to your health. If you take the right precautions by wearing supportive shoes that will make you feel like you are standing comfortably, then you can prevent dozens of potential hazards to your health. If you are a professional that stands all day at work, then you need good shoes. And don’t you forget it.