Study after study shows that leading a sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to your health. This is often a result of sitting at a desk all day, rarely getting up to walk, and then lacking exercise during free time. In response, we’ve seen innovation start to tackle the issues associated with unhealthy office lifestyles, most notably the standing desk. However, prolonged standing (standing for more than 60% of your work day) for long periods of time comes with its own health risks, such as:
- lower back and leg pain
- cardiovascular problems
- varicose veins
Striking a balance between the two is key; and here’s how you can get started.
1. Get an Adjustable Desk or Workbench
Why settle for sitting or standing when you can have both? Desks that raise and lower exist, even if they are on the pricey side. Not only can you stand up when you’re feeling restless, you can also lower it back down if your feet start to hurt. You can adjust it to fit your body type perfectly, no matter your size. This carries the added bonus of improving your posture, so you aren’t hunched over a lowered computer screen. If you’re really committed to getting your steps in, look into desks with treadmills so you can stay active while you work!
2. Change Positions Throughout the Day
Generally speaking, sitting or standing in the same position for more than 20 minutes per day is detrimental to your health. If you tend to sit while working, be sure to shift your body a bit every so often. Go for a walk for a few minutes every hour or so; get some fresh air and stretch your legs during your lunch break. If you work in a job where you’re mostly on your feet all day, take sitting breaks wherever you find the opportunity.
3. Buy New Shoes
Making sure you have the right shoe type is critical if you’re on your feet all day. Correct shoe size, arch support, shock-absorbing cushions, and comfortability are all big factors in selecting the right shoe. If you aren’t sure what you need, some shoemakers such as Dr. Scholl’s offer in-store orthotics kiosks that measure foot size, how you stand, and the main pressure points of your feet, and will make shoe or shoe insert recommendations accordingly. If you need a more detailed analysis or recommendations due to pre-existing health or posture conditions, be sure to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist before shopping.
4. Core Workouts
By strengthening your core, you’re supporting your spine and improving your posture naturally. This will aid your entire body in maintaining balance, but also will improve range of motion and overall strength, relieving pressure on your muscles and joints, thus making you less fatigued at the end of the day.
5. Compression Socks/Stockings
Buy a set of compression socks that are meant for those who stand all day. They are often used to aid with medical issues, but are available for recreation as well. They can help improve your circulation, reduce swelling in the feet and overall muscle fatigue, and can minimize foot pain.
6. Take More Breaks
Most health experts don’t recommend working more than 8 hours per day, especially on your feet. If you do have to work more than 8 hours a day, take breaks more frequently; especially if you do manual labor that includes repetitive motion. Excessive repetitive motion carries its own problems, but also increases the risk of foot/leg pain, sprains and more. Taking a few more breaks to stretch out will not only help your body feel better, but lower your risk of work related injuries due to prolonged standing.
7. Eat Healthier
You’re probably sick of hearing this advice, but it’s ubiquitous for a reason. Eating healthier in general improves energy levels, reduces fatigue, and prevents muscle cramping. Staying hydrated throughout the day is crucial for your body as a whole, but will also prevent muscles from seizing/spasming.
When it comes to risk management, prevention is the key. Society Insurance policyholders gain the collaborative and consultative partnership of risk control experts and access to exclusive safety resources designed to keep your workplace safe and profitable.
Contact your local Society agent to learn more or check out our Health and Wellness blog series for more tips to combat prolonged standing in the workplace.