Too many Americans spend all day hunched over their desks, but that might be a welcome problem for those of us whose jobs require constant standing or walking. If that includes you, then you’re probably familiar with the aches and pains that come with standing on your feet all day. The good news is that there are steps you can take to make yourself—and your feet—more comfortable. In this post, we share our top tips for keeping those dogs from barking!
Is Prolonged Standing Really So Bad?
While couch potatoes are the worst offenders when it comes to keeping your body in tip top shape, it turns out that there are health risks associated with standing on your feet all day.
- Blood pooling in legs, feet, and ankles.
- Poor circulation
- Lower back, foot, and leg pain
So, is standing on your feet all day really that bad for you? Short answer: yes. Even though all the above symptoms are unpleasant, blood pooling is legitimately dangerous. The extra pressure on your veins and increased oxidative stress can eventually lead to cardiovascular disease, doubling your risk for heart attacks down the line.
6 Ways to Lighten the Load
Short of finding a different job, here are a few things you can do to reduce the health risks associated with standing on your feet all day:
1. Boost Circulation
Since it’s the blood pooling in your feet that carries the biggest health risks, a simple solution is to pull on compression socks right before your shift starts. A fresh pair of properly engineered compression socks will gently squeeze your feet, ankles, and lower limbs, encouraging blood to flow back toward your heart. In addition to improving circulation, compression socks for standing on your feet all day will reduce swelling, enhance comfort, and help your legs feel more energized.
2. Wear the Right Shoes
This is a no-brainer, but if you’re trying to strut your stuff in heels or shoes that pinch while at work, you’re dooming your poor feet from the get-go. Look for comfortable shoes that offer full arch support and plenty of cushioning to minimize the fatigue that comes from standing on your feet all day. Believe it or not, it IS possible to dress for style and comfort at work—it’s all a matter of playing around with shape and proportion. Plus, athleisure is on trend!
3. Invest in a Mat
If you’re stuck standing in a specific location throughout your shift, consider yourself lucky. Why? Because it means you can invest in an anti-fatigue floor mat. These clever little devices not only offer extra support and comfort to your feet, but they also encourage regular, subtle movement throughout the day, which research shows helps reduce the swelling, muscle pain, and fatigue associated with prolonged standing.
4. Keep It Moving
The biggest problem with standing your feet all day is the lack of movement, which causes stiffness and swelling. Find opportunities throughout the day to move around:
- Shift your weight from side to side and bend your knees a little. This helps boost blood flow.
- Rock up on your toes to activate your calf muscles.
- Walk in place, lifting your feet all the way off the ground.
- Adjust your posture. If you catch yourself slouching—we all do it—pull your shoulders back and stand tall, engaging your core. This small adjustment can improve alignment and increase comfort.
5. Recover Wisely
When you return home from work, take the time to help your legs and feet recover:
- Elevate your legs. Lay down on your back, either on the floor or on the bed, with your legs up in a vertical line against a wall. This encourages blood to flow back down toward your heart.
- Exercise. We know, we know: the last thing you want to do when you come home from standing on your feet all day is drag yourself to the gym. But even 30 minutes of low impact exercise not only aids recovery by boosting the flow of much-needed oxygen and nutrients to your exhausted muscles, but also builds strength and endurance, so that standing all day takes less of a toll on your body. So kickstart an active lifestyle today!
- Roll It Out. An easy trick to massage the many tiny muscles in your foot is to get a tennis ball or golf ball and slowly roll the bottom of your foot over it. The harder you press, the deeper the pressure.
Since your calves and quads take the hardest beating from prolonged standing, take a few minutes to stretch them out.
Standing Calf Stretch Lunge
Stand a full step away from a wall. Then put both palms flat against the wall, step back with your left foot and bend your front right knee. With your toes pointing forward, push your left heel gently toward the ground. You should feel a satisfying stretch in your left calf. Hold for 10 seconds, then switch sides.
Standing Quad Stretch
You probably remember this one from gym class. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. As you bend your right knee and kick your right foot back, reach down and grab the top of your right ankle or foot. Pull gently back as you push your hip forward until you feel a stretch in the right quad.
Feel Great at Work and Beyond
Prolonged standing has negative consequences, but you don’t have to just grin and bear it. Here at Crazy Compression, we’ve worked with hundreds of nurses who swear by compression socks to alleviate foot fatigue and reduce swelling. Plus, all the playful designs and fun colors put a little spring in their step! If you’re on the hunt for socks for standing on your feet all day, Crazy Compression will blow your socks off—pun intended.
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