Coming home after a long, hard day of standing on your feet can make you feel twice your age. Since when did 30 become the new 60?
From being a teacher to working as a shop assistant, many jobs entail standing all day. While sitting all day is unhealthy for your body, standing up for long periods can be just as detrimental to your health. Yes, being active is great for weight loss and staying fit, but it can also cause painful backaches, blood flow troubles, and even headaches.
If you suffer from aches and pains by the end of your working day, these useful tips will make standing at work a lot easier.
Whether you’re pacing through hospital corridors, standing in a restaurant kitchen, or building scaffolding, there are multiple ways to endure standing on your feet while at work:
1. Get the Right Shoes
Instead of choosing a pair of shoes because they look good, buy a pair that feel and do good for your feet. By wearing a quality, comfortable, and right-sized pair of shoes, you can avoid getting blisters, bruises, and cramps.
Choose a pair of shoes that:
- Is cushioned and comfortable – memory foam shoes are ideal, or you can buy shoe insoles that provide support.
- Has enough room for your feet to breathe and toes to move around – feet tend to swell, especially in the heat.
- Is the right size – get your feet properly measured to prevent tight or big shoes.
- Supports your foot arch and prevents shock and stress on your feet.
Another tip is to rotate your work shoes. This can put relief on your feet and back, plus it can make your shoes last longer.
2. Wear the Right Socks
While it’s evident that shoes can boost comfort at work, socks can too. Standing too long on your feet can cause bad blood circulation. To help relieve this issue, you can wear compression socks which are said to promote blood flow and reduce swelling.
The same goes for stockings – they can diminish the chances of developing thrombosis in your legs, something that’s common with people who stand for extended periods.
You can also change your socks throughout your shift. According to Foot HealthCare Associates, this can prevent fungal foot infections such as athlete’s foot. It’s also recommended that you wear cotton socks as they are the most effective for absorbing sweat.
3. Fix Your Posture
Standing up for long periods can cause us to slouch our necks, backs, and shoulders, which unfortunately leads to painful ohs and ows by the end of the day. To avoid muscle aches, it’s important to be mindful of your posture.
According to Healthline, practising good posture puts less tension on your spine, reduces strain on your muscles, relieves headaches, and gives you better balance.
Certain office chairs can help those who sit all day, but if you spend most of your waking hours standing for long periods, you improve your posture by:
- Standing up straight
- Keeping your shoulders slightly pulled back
- Keeping your feet about a shoulder-width apart
- Putting your weight on the balls of your feet
- Slightly bending your knees
- Tucking your stomach in
- Keeping your head level with your shoulders
4. Exercise and Stretch
Strengthen your body by incorporating a few exercises and stretches during your shift. When you get a few minutes to yourself (e.g. during your break, while behind your desk), get your heart pumping and muscles moving, without drawing attention to yourself from your co-workers or customers. This will help you endure those long shifts you spend standing up.
A few easy exercises and stretches include:
- Stretching your thighs by pulling one leg behind (repeat with the other leg)
- Reaching for your toes and staying in this position for 10 seconds
- Rolling your shoulders around 10 times
- Stretching your chest forward and arms back
- Stepping to the side, then straightening one leg while bending the other
- Marching on the spot for a couple of minutes
5. Take a Break
No matter how busy your day is, it’s vital that you catch a break. Whether it’s for 15 minutes or an hour, taking a break can alleviate pressure on your feet.
Take a seat during your lunch, and if possible, keep your legs up (e.g. rest them on a stall) to soothe your lower body. Make sure it’s a healthy lunch too, as that will help maintain your energy levels. You can also stretch your legs and take your shoes off to cool your feet down.
Taking some time to do the exercises and stretches mentioned above is also wise as it will relieve any tension. If nothing else, be sure to take a break as often as you can to take the excess weight off your feet.
6. Stand in a Different Spot
If the floor at work is made of a hard surface like concrete, marble, or ceramic tiles, chances are your feet and back will feel like they’re caving in. If possible, give yourself a break by finding a spot that has more cushioning and shock absorbency to lift any weight off your feet and back. A good example would be wood, grass, or rubber.
Some employers even supply their staff with anti-fatigue mats, which make standing a lot easier and comfortable by providing a cushioned surface. They can also help reduce fatigue and massage your feet.
To make a long day of standing at work more comfortable, there are certain remedies you could do outside of the workplace too:
7. Exercise and Stretch (Again)
While you may have the urge to kick your feet up and relax after a long day, delay this a little by exercising first.
Whether it’s swimming, weight training, or yoga, you can build more endurance and stamina for when standing at work. You could also join a gym, go for regular walks, or workout at home!
Maintaining a regular exercise routine will help you improve your posture, strengthen your core, and build muscle on your legs and back that will help make standing all day a little less hard.
8. Get a Massage
When your feet are throbbing, treat yourself to a nice massage. Whether it’s by a professional or a friend, the soft pressure on your feet or back can decrease any discomfort you may have. You could also pamper yourself by rubbing your heels and soles with essential oils.
A massage can boost blood circulation and muscle strength. So, if you feel exhausted after work, reduce muscle tension and relax your whole body by treating yourself to a well-earned rub.
9. Take a Bath
Wash your pain away by having a hot bath. This is guaranteed to relieve tension from your body. According to Dr Mark Khorsandi, ‘stretching and moving in the water also provides a low-impact workout for discomfort in muscles, joints, and bones.’
It’s also a great idea to have a foot bath for 15 minutes. Soak your legs and feet in a tub of warm water with salts or oils while watching your favourite show or catching up with social media. This easy technique is said to reduce swelling and pain. Epsom salt, in particular, is believed to help the muscles relax.
10. Lie Down and Lift Your Feet Up
Lying down is one of the most natural ways to treat pain. Give your body a well-deserved rest by lying down for a couple of hours after work.
You could even try slightly elevating your legs or prop them on a pillow to improve your circulation and relieve pressure on your spine. Relaxing your body can stabilise your energy and allow you to build enough stamina for the next day.
Wearing suitable footgear, exercising and relaxing can make a world of difference at work, making standing a lot more bearable.
By following our tips, you might be able to face the next working day with higher energy and strength, while feeling like your young self once again.
What other methods are there to endure standing on your feet all day? Let us know in the comments section below!