Many jobs today require people to sit all day in an office. However, many more jobs require employees to be on their feet all day. Many people who have to spend most of their work day on their feet include cashiers, bank tellers, restaurant servers, cooks, assembly line workers, healthcare employees, salespeople, and police officers. While many people argue that standing is better than sitting all day, there are just as many health risks associated with standing as sitting. It is important to be aware of potential dangers and how to combat and prevent them in order to ensure good health.
Negative Effects of Standing All Day
Standing on your feet all day can have some serious effects on your body. These effects can also show up almost immediately. Standing injuries are often exacerbated by being immobile on the job because it reduces blood flow to the legs and stops certain muscles from contracting regularly to return blood to the legs and heart. When you do not move and your muscles are stagnant for too long, veins become inflamed, causing your legs, feet, ankles, and muscles to ache or swell.
According to recent studies by a prominent ergonomics researcher, Jenny Pynt, some of the serious health risks associated with prolonged standing and immobility include the pooling of blood in the legs. Pregnant women who are constantly on their feet are at a particularly higher risk of pre-term birth and miscarriage. Another serious side effect of being on your feet all day is lower and middle back pain which can seriously impair work performance.
Remedying the Effects of Prolonged Standing
By law, employers are required to provide a healthy and safe workplace for employees. You should always try to organize your workspace in such a way that everything is within your reach and you will not have to be moving in awkward positions to reach things. Be sure to move around whenever you can because “stretching your legs” is very important to maintaining proper muscle health. Try to sit every once in a while to remove pressure from your feet, too. This will protect your joints and reduce your risk of arthritis. You should also look into buying ergonomic shoe soles such as those offered by Dr. Scholl’s. These shoes promote healthy posture and help ease back pain. Posture correcting back braces will also be very helpful to alleviate back pain and correct posture.
Some of these issues can be remedied with furniture, too. You can insist on having an adjustable work surface which can move to different heights to suit your height. You should have access to an adjustable sit-stand stool behind your counter if you are in a cashier or sales clerk position. One of the easiest solutions for this problem is to have your boss invest in anti-fatigue mats for work. Anti-fatigue mats are designed specifically to reduce aches and pains from prolonged standing. They are recommended by the American Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If you request anti-fatigue mats, your employer much honor that request, too. Such mats are usually made from vinyl, wood, PVC tubing, rubber, or specialized substances and are widely used in hospitals, clinics, factories, and in the kitchen.