Ask anybody to comment about desk jobs that require you to sit all day and you’ll probably hear how endless hours of sitting are not good for your health. However, recent studies and research have shown quite a surprising twist to the story. Sure, spending the better part of your day in a seated position is bad for your health, but it’s nowhere near the adverse effects of standing. Typically, standing is a very natural position and by its innocent self poses absolutely no particular health hazards. Problem comes in when you make it a habit and stand upright for an entire day.
If you are one of the million people who work as bank tellers, retail assistants, factory workers, concrete mixers, assembly line operators, restaurant workers, surgeons, nurses, guards and tons of other jobs that require you to be constantly on your feet for most of the time, you could be putting your life and well-being at risk. Research shows that standing consistently for over five hours every day significantly contributes to an entire array of severe health issues. These include sore feet, swelling of the feet, lower back pain, varicose veins, general muscle fatigue, musculoskeletal disorders and a slew of other ailments and health issues.
Other Common Health Problems Include :
How Standing Causes These Problems
In a world where industrialization and development are the norms, millions of people worldwide work in a standing position from morning to evening. Let’s look at precisely how some of these health issues develop.
Slouching/ Bad Posture
Keeping your body upright for hours on end definitely requires a lot of effort and creates a lot of pressure on certain parts of your body. To alleviate some of the tense pressure, many workers end up contorting their bodies to very unnatural positions. More often than not, you end up all slouched up to alleviate the pain in your back. Abusing your posture for weeks and months at the workplace could result in permanent effects on how you actually stand and walk.
Like a myriad of other work-related hazards, standing is typically designed into a job for more functionality and productivity. This physical layout of a workplace often forces your body into awkward positions such as reaching over wide surfaces and stretching over repeatedly without sufficient breaks. Standing can be very tiresome, especially when you don’t move around much. To keep the body in a straight and upright position, some muscles have to work extra hard than others. This quickly accelerates the onset of fatigue and pain in the leg muscles, back and even neck area. The worst part is that before your muscles can even get adequate time to recover, you are back on the job putting more stress and pressure on them again.
This term refers to veins that have become twisted and enlarged, typically found within the feet, ankles, and legs. Gravity plays a big role on this one. While standing in one position all day long, gravity tends to pull the blood towards the lower parts of your body. However, valves and other body mechanisms that assist in pumping blood upwards prevent the flow from reversing direction and going backwards. Unfortunately, extensive hours of standing all day on the job can cause these valves to weaken and eventually fail. As a result, blood flow can no longer be prevented from reversing and flowing back. Gravity does its part and pulls the blood back into the legs, forcing the veins to balloon and expand to accommodate the extra volume. If not given medical attention, varicose veins can lead to hospitalization.
Plantar fasciitis can be caused by innumerable hours of standing all day. Even if the condition is not hereditary for your family, the 9 to 5 culture where you stand all day long can cause such issues to develop slowly. Standing all day puts a lot of unnatural pressure on the bones and ligaments on your feet. One of the most crucial parts of your foot is the arch that helps give your foot its shape and absorbs the day to day shock and impact. The excessive pressure on the feet causes the arches to collapse, and as a result, they can no longer function as designed. Not only does this lead to uncomfortable posture, but it can also be very painful to stand or walk on flat feet. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can prevent and remedy plantar fasciitis before it gets any worse.
Even with today’s highly sympathetic employers, women still have to work for part of their pregnancies. Without the job, the little ones may not have food at the end of the day. Research has shown that women who walk or stand for an average of 6 hours every day are at a greater risk of delivering pre term or having children that are underweight. Additionally, more studies show that working for more than 25 hours every week can be directly associated with slower rates of fetal growth. This can be a very tough situation considering that most workers spend about 40 hours on the job; most of it standing and moving around. This is why doctors recommend that women take it easy as soon as the pregnancy gets to 36 weeks; maybe even take your maternity leave earlier if you can.
As you have seen, standing for a few hours can be more detrimental to your health than even walking or sitting. In our next segment, we will touch on how to cope with professions that require standing all day as well as how to avoid some of the health issues stated above. Remember, a great work shoe can really make a difference and offer relief for your sore, tired and achy feet.