Being on your feet for most of the day can really take a toll on your body. It is exhausting, to say the least, but the real problems one is faced with are generally related to the feet and lower limbs. The targeted aches, pain, and inflammation in and around these regions of the body can interfere with your day-to-day life including your ability to sleep.
For people whose jobs require them to stand for long periods of time during work hours, a good pair of shoes, one that is designed to provide added support and minimise pressure on the feet and legs, is highly recommended. While this is helpful to some extent, what you really need to do is take better care of the tired and strained muscles in your feet and legs. For this, some of the best practices include everything from exercises to massages; the goal here is to release built-up pressure, and increase blood flow to alleviate the many different symptoms of standing all day.
How Standing Too Much Affects Your Body
The most common symptom of standing all day is a generalised pain in the feet. Accompanying symptoms often include swollen ankles and feet, tight muscles in the calves, and pain in the lower limbs.
Another noteworthy ill effect of being on your feet for too long is lack of blood circulation in the lower body which, in turn, forces your body to work twice as much to simply circulate blood back to the heart. The hindrance in blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients being sent to various tissues in the body puts excess pressure on blood vessels, thus causing a fluid to leak from them. This results in aches and inflammation over time.
If you find that your lower limbs are growing weaker or that you are having trouble supporting your upper body weight, this can also be attributed to standing all day which causes lower limb fatigue. Additionally, you may experience cramping in the legs and lower back pain.
These are just a few of the adverse effects caused to your feet, body, and health when you stand for extended periods on a daily basis. While taking a load off every now and then is the ideal solution to countering the ill effects brought on by standing all day, it is not always the most feasible option. So, if your job has got you on your feet for most of the day and it is taking a toll on you, take a look at these simple ways to take better care of your feet and body.
6 Ways to Care for Tired Feet & Legs
The best way to give your feet and legs the release they need is by giving them mini breaks throughout the day. In this time, you must take specific measures to alleviate the strain they have been put under since your day began. That’s exactly what these tips below are intended to do when you make them a part of your daily routine. Read on!
1) Minimal Stretching Once Warm
The great thing about stretching is that you can do it anywhere! It doesn’t require any equipment, or a lot of time, for that matter. With that said, it should be noted that stretching sans warming up is not advised as it runs the risk of muscle injury. The good news, however, is that you can warm up your body by simply brisk walking around the room or up and down stairs for a few minutes. Once you have warmed up, carry out some basic calf and ankle stretches which can be performed every 1-2 hours throughout your work schedule.
2) Raise Your Feet
If this isn’t something you can do at work during your break(s), make sure that you take a load off sooner than later when you get home. While this may be something you are already accustomed to, the real benefits of elevating your feet are experienced when they are raised above your heart. Among other things, it improves blood circulation in your lower body after your leg veins have spent the entire day working extra hard to carry out this otherwise simple function.
3) Roll Your Feet, Calves, and Thighs
The purpose of rolling these parts of your body is to maintain long and limber muscles and increase circulation. This is critically important for people who spend a lot of time on their feet as their muscles tend to contract for most of the day. In order to stretch and lengthen them, an exercise like rolling is incredibly effective and quick to perform. For your feet, you can use a tennis ball while your calves and thighs will require a foam roller. If you can’t incorporate these exercises into your work hours, perform them once, at the very least, at the end of the day.
4) Soak Your Feet in Hot Water & Epsom Salt
There are multiple benefits of soaking your feet after a long day of standing or walking around. It is both relaxing and effective in relieving muscle tension thanks to the magnesium content in the epsom salt. You can also go one step further to add in a few drops of essential oil, preferably chamomile or lavender which are two scents that have proven to relax the mind and relieve mental stress.
5) Wear Compression Socks
If you’ve never heard of compression socks, perhaps you’ve seen them. They are often worn by runners, athletes, and even nurses. Unlike regular socks, they are generally knee-length (or just below the knee), and are designed to add an intended amount of pressure to your lower limbs. This helps regulate a normal blood flow which, in turn, eliminates inflammation and discomfort. With that said, there is a fine line between compression socks that fit you perfectly and tight socks that will do you more harm than good. If you feel uncomfortable or as if the compression socks are cutting off circulation to your lower limbs (which is the opposite of their purpose), take them off immediately.
6) Get a Foot + Leg Massage
For tight muscles, poor circulation, general pain, and more, a monthly foot and leg massage is a great way to deal with nagging symptoms caused by standing all day. Of course, for anyone experiencing a serious condition related to the feet and legs, a consultation with a chiropractor is advised. Here, you will receive a thorough assessment and have access to targeted massage therapies and other medical treatments to relieve your symptoms.
It’s unfortunate that so many people put off caring for their feet until they are faced with more painful and serious symptoms from standing up all day. As the old saying goes: “prevention is better than cure”, so be sure to give your feet the TLC they deserve, and enjoy the benefits of keeping them healthy and happy!
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