Standing All Day? Prolonged Standing May Be Worse Than Sitting…
Prolonged standing without taking frequent walking breaks takes a toll on certain parts of the body and increases the risk of some disorders.
In recent years, we’ve heard much about the health effects of prolonged sitting, such as a higher likelihood of heart disease, diabetes and premature death. Yet prolonged standing isn’t the solution to these ills. The ideal way of spending the day from a health standpoint is to keep moving as much as possible.
Having a job that necessitates spending long hours standing is a problem experienced by many Americans. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, the average worker in the country spent 61 percent of his or her workday standing. People in vocations that require much standing include those in the food and retail industries like cooks and sales clerks, as well as a host of others such as assembly line workers, hair stylists and laboratory technicians.
Health Hazards of Prolonged Standing
Here are the health effects associated with prolonged standing:
- Varicose veins refer to twisted, enlarged veins in the legs. During standing, gravity pulls the blood downward to the lower parts of the body. The valves in the veins work to propel the blood upward, but they can become weak and fail after extensive standing. When this happens, some of the venous blood falls backward, causing the veins to balloon out or expand. Aside from the pain that ensues, varicose veins are tied to a higher risk of blood clots.
- Atherosclerosis is a condition where plaque accumulates in the walls of the arteries, causing them to become narrower. A 2000 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health found that long hours of standing at work is linked to the progression of atherosclerosis of the arteries in the neck.
- Muscle fatigue occurs during prolonged standing because the musculature in the lower back, legs, feet and ankles undergoes sustained contractions. Consequently, back pain and joint problems can develop, reports a 2015 investigation published in the journal Human Factors. The effects can reduce job productivity and performance and increase the risk of injury.
- Joint compression happens because standing for hours without moving around puts pressure on joints of the hips, knees, ankles and feet. The pressure causes the squeezing out of fluids that lubricate and cushion joints, which results in wear and tear.
- Other problems may include stiffness in the neck and shoulders, flat feet, heel spurs, rheumatic diseases and high blood pressure.
Preventative Measures to Take
The following measures can help avoid muscle strain and injury:
- Take as many mini-exercise breaks as possible. For example, you can take a quick ten minutes to enjoy a brisk walk.
- Avoid standing on a concrete or metal floor. If the floor in your workstation is made of these materials, cover it with a thin mat; but look for one with slanted edges to avoid tripping. Anti-fatigue matting like this is also available.
- Avoid reaching behind or above the shoulder line, and refrain from extreme twisting or bending.
- Ask for a chair of suitable height like this one for your workstation to take breaks that rest your legs and feet.
- Change work positions frequently, so you’re using different muscle groups.
- Face the object of work directly, and keep your body close to it.
- Bring a portable footrest like this or foot rail to work, so you can shift your body weight from both feet to one or the other foot.
Shoe Guidelines For Standing
It’s important to choose footwear with safety and comfort in mind. Instead of wearing flat shoes or shoes with high heels, wear those with a small heel.
Pick footwear with lace-up fastenings, arch supports and ample room in the toe area, as well as styles that fit the heel firmly. A shock-absorbing cushioned insole like this may also help. In addition, select shoes that don’t change the shape or normal position of the foot.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.