For those of us with office jobs, a lot of the advice out there is to get walking as much as possible. If this is the case for you, you might want to check out our tips for . But not all of us have desk jobs. And, not many of us know how to (properly) stand for long periods of time. Whether you’re a bartender, construction worker, farmer, or have any job where you’re constantly on your feet, it’s time to acknowledge that good posture consists of more than just keeping your back straight.
Not practicing proper posture will throw you out of alignment and keeping your whole body misaligned every day does more than just contribute to minor issues…the stress can add up over time and get worse and lead to:
- Increased risk of back injuries
- Chronic headaches
- Lower back pain
- Knee and ankle pain
- Stiffness or pain in the neck and shoulders
- Weak core muscles
If any of these look familiar to you, it’s time to make a change in your posture and/or find some support to help align your body. Here are some tips to maintain proper posture when you’re on your feet all day.
Keep your back straight
Keeping your back straight but relaxed will help you learn how to stand for long periods of time. Knowing what good posture should feel like is the most important step. To find your most natural, healthy posture, simply shrug, then release. Your shoulders should feel slightly pulled back and your ears should be aligned above your shoulders. Yoga instructors often say, “head over heart, heart over the pelvis. You shouldn’t feel like you’re arching.
Though, if you do find that your shoulders are still rounded and your head seems to be protruding forward (instead of stacked over your heart) there’s a chance that you have a forward head posture (FHP). There are a lot of unwanted side effects linked to FHP, so it’s best to start . However, it might be helpful to see a physical or occupational therapist if you find that you’re still struggling to fix your posture.
Wear low-heeled shoes
Even if you’re not wearing high heels, there’s a possibility that your heels are actually too high. This can mean that the pressure of your body weight could be distributed in your metatarsals and the balls of your feet and could end up causing pain.
That’s where insoles can come into play- the is specially designed for those stressful workdays. The built-in metatarsal pads can help your toes handle the exertion, while deep heel cups support your ankles and create the stability you need. These insoles are great for running shoes and work boots, and are perfect for supporting you as you move around all day.
Whether you decide on Orange Insoles or not, remember that quality insoles are not just comfortable and squishy, but are designed to prevent and all the problems it can cause. If you suffer from pain that doesn’t go away, however, seeing a doctor may be your best bet.
Focus on your core muscles
While it may be difficult to find the energy to get your body moving outside of work, you can only benefit from it. Yoga, tai chi, and other milder forms of exercise can increase your awareness of your body and engage your core muscles. Your core is more than just your abs. ”Our core muscles are the muscles deep within the abdominals and back, attaching to the spine or pelvis. ”
Strengthening this whole area can help support the weight of your back and prevent you from slouching while standing.
Try out these as a starting point.
Pay attention to your pelvis
Most people do not pay attention to the position of their pelvis when dealing with posture issues, but it can contribute a great deal to knee, lower back, and hip pain. While both pelvic tilt (the first one means your butt sticks out too much, while the second one means you “tuck” your tailbone in) are usually caused by a sedentary lifestyle, it can happen to anyone who consistently has bad posture. Getting a neutral pelvis can mean practicing all the tips discussed above and as best as you can. Sometimes, all it takes is an adjustment of your pelvis to figure out how to stand for long periods of time without pain.
Avoid excessive stretching, bending over, or twisting
This one may be unavoidable, but if there’s a chance that you can switch off with someone else so you can take a break from repeating a task where you’re repeating motions like bending, stretching, or twist over and over again, you should.
If you really have to bend over often, follow these tips:
- Keep your feet wide apart
- Engage your core muscles
- Bend at the knees
- Keep your back straight
- Hold objects close to your body
- Lift slowly.
Also, avoid twisting your body while lifting; the misalignment you create won’t give you enough support to carry heavy objects.
Stretch dynamically before work
Before you head to a job where you’ll be on your feet all day, give s a try. These stretches get more blood flowing through the body and get the muscles warmed up so they’re ideal for before the day begins. Dynamic means you’ll be moving as you stretch rather than holding a position for a length of time. Dynamic stretches include moves like lunges and hip circles.
Stretch statically after a long day
These static stretches can help you reach every muscle involved in getting you through the workday and help prevent pain or injury.
Child’s pose, cat and cow pose, and downward dog pose are all static stretches that can release tension in your back and shoulders. High plank and side plank can strengthen abdominal muscles, glutes, and hamstrings to reduce stiffness. Pigeon pose can stretch out difficult hips.
Working these exercises into your work routine could significantly improve your physical state at work and everywhere else. Find out how to do each of these- and other stretches- .
If you have a job that requires you to look down a lot, this one can be challenging. By looking downward or upward often, muscles in your neck can overstretch and cause strain. This can happen by just being on your phone too much, too. One of the smartest things to do is to keep your tasks near eye level so that you don’t have to look straight down and possibly strain your neck.
Remember, proper posture isn’t just for desk jobs. If you’re on your feet all day, make sure to stand tall and proud, stretch and move your body, and make sure you have the right support!