We are designed to move. For most people, the stresses of a career and day-to-day life keep them either sitting or standing in one place all day.
Over time, this can cause structural issues in your body, so it is important to be aware that this is happening and to know what to do to fix it.
Here are our 7 tips for people who stand all day:
#1. Position correctly.
It may sound like the most obvious thing in the world. But when people complain about aches and pains, and you ask them what they are doing about it, they always seem surprised that it can make such a difference just by standing correctly.
We’re designed to stand, but most of us are used to standing hunched over, with a forward head carriage and anterior pelvic tilt. And smartphones and other daily habits only contribute to this.
Luckily, it is easy to fix this. The first step is to become conscious about how you are standing. Get those shoulders back, tighten up those glutes and engage your core to start standing a little straighter and taller instantly. Even just this small change can have a huge effect on posture and how you are feeling at the end of the day.
#2. Practice posture fixing exercises.
A lot of posture problems will eventually start to manifest themselves in long-term health problems, be it aches and pains, an imbalance in the way you move, or even long-term joint issues.
On the upside, mobility exercises can easily fix this. Pilates, yoga, even a simple stretching routine can have a huge effect on your body, and get everything reset into proper positions once again.
Lifehacker has a great article with a bunch of different stretches you can do throughout your day, no matter where or what you are doing.
#3. It could be affecting your breathing.
Stop reading this and look down at yourself as you breathe. Watch what part of your body is moving as you breathe in and out.
Is it your chest? A surprising amount of people these days breathe primarily with their chests. This habit leads to shorter breaths, less oxygen flow and an overall lack of general health and fitness.
We are supposed to ‘belly breathe,’ breathing primarily with our diaphragms. You can tell when you are belly breathing by placing one hand on your stomach, just over your navel. It should noticeably move when you are breathing in and out.
But bad posture, especially a slumped spine and tilting pelvis, can cause your diaphragm to become compressed, which causes the chest breathing problem we have just mentioned.
If you find yourself breathing into your chest throughout the day, it is a good indicator to check your posture. And fixing your posture could fix your breathing, too, making you feel better in your day-to-day life.
#4. Avoid standing in one position for longer periods.
The best posture is one that is constantly on the move. Holding any position or keeping yourself in one post, for extended periods of time, will do damage to anyone no matter how healthy.
Whether you take 5 minutes to do a few mobility exercises or simply stretch first thing in the morning, at lunchtime, and just before bed, it all helps.
If you are in a job, where you find yourself standing in one position for extended periods of time, mix it up. Make sure you shift your balance, and the leg your weight is on, frequently.
#5. Experiment with different shoes.
Your shoes have a huge effect on how you stand and the way you change your stance and body. Everyone’s feet are different, so the best advice I have got for you here is to get them examined by a professional, even just to see whether you have got high or low arches.
There is a lot of different options in the world of footwear. If you are mainly flat footed, a firm sole and orthotic insole could make a huge difference. Conversely, if you’ve got high arches, some extra support could be just what the doctor ordered to stop leg and hip pain.
The big thing, though, is to get a pair of shoes for standing all day, that suit you and your feet. You will notice the difference immediately. We promise.
#6. Make sure you are taking care of your feet.
After a long day of being on your feet, they could do with a little bit of TLC. If your back were aching, you would ask your significant other to rub your shoulders or get a massage. Why not do the same for your tired feet?
A foot massage, where you slowly work into all of the joints with your thumbs and rub through your entire foot piece by piece, can be an intensely relaxing experience.
You could also go for a relaxing, hot bath. The hot water pays dividends at reducing strain. If you don’t have time for that, you might even consider a foot bath. Doesn’t have to be anything special. Just fill a bowl with hot but tolerable water, maybe add a couple of drops of bath soap or essential oils, and leave your feet to relax for half an hour.
#7. If you have any concerns, make sure you see a doctor.
It is worth stressing this over and over. You only get one set of legs, so if there is anything that has been plaguing you for more than a few days, it is worth seeing the podiatrist and making sure that there is nothing major causing issues.
If you’ve got any long-term aches or unexplained pains, make sure you see a professional, ASAP.
That is the end of our list of 7 tips for people who stand all day. Hopefully, now you are more aware of your posture and the effect it can have on your day-to-day life. As long as you can follow our tips, and keep yourself conscious of the way you are standing, you are ready to go.
If you’ve got any pointers for our readers about posture, make sure to share them in the comments below.