A pair of high-quality shoes with great support can go a long way if you stand all day for work or at a special event. But sometimes you need more than just another pair of shoes to truly care for your feet and legs. You need a routine to work out your strained and tired muscles. One that relieves pressure and gets your blood flowing.
WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BODY WHEN YOU STAND ALL DAY
As you’ve probably already noticed after extended periods of standing, your feet can hurt. Even if you have a quality pair of shoes your feet may still be sore. But aside from sore feet, you may experience swollen feet, ankles, and calves.
Circulation in your lower body has to work extra hard to return blood to your heart if you’re standing all day, which can cause swelling and aching. What would normally be a quick fly-by of blood with oxygen and nutrients turns into a traffic jam which leads to fluid leaking from the blood vessels into surrounding the tissue.
You may also notice your lower limbs getting tired more quickly. This is known as a lower limb fatigue. As your lower limbs get tired, your legs may begin to cramp or back pain could set in.
A recent study suggests that standing all day can be detrimental to your health. You may not be giving up your standing job anytime soon, so the best remedy is to take care of your body at work and at home.
7 TIPS FOR CARING FOR YOUR LEGS AND FEET
Incorporate these seven tips into your daily routine either before, during, or after work. Preferably, spread them out throughout the day to provide your body with the release and breaks it needs to keep going.
1) Foam roll or tennis ball
You can bring a tennis ball with you to work or keep it stashed in your living room at home. Simply place it beneath your foot and roll it back and forth. The pressure will allow for the muscles to stretch and lengthen, which is exactly what your feet need after contracting all day.
Similarly, use a foam roller to stretch and lengthen the muscles in your calves and thighs. Imagine a rubber band that never gets lengthened. Overtime it becomes brittle and hard. And when you go to stretch it, it’s more likely to break.
The same concept applies with your muscles. You need to lengthen them. You may see people at the gym doing this exercise, but it’s not just for people who work out. Anyone can use it to keep their muscles long, lean, and limber.
Foam rolling is preferred over stretching, since stretching can be dangerous on cold muscles. But stretching is at least something you can take with you anywhere, anytime.
You don’t need a tool to do it. You can do it at work throughout the day to relieve tension in your lower half. Try a few forward folds. Bend down and touch your toes. Or squat to the floor with your knees to your chest and ankles lifted to get an ankle and calf stretch.
3) Elevate your feet
You may do this naturally already. You get home, get comfy, and lay on the couch with your feet up. Maybe they’re up off the floor but try to get them up above your heart.
Now your leg veins don’t have to work as hard. You can give your lower body circulation the time it needs to rest and recover from a hard day’s work.
4) Invert your body
Similarly, you can completely invert your body with a few yoga inversions or an inversion table. If you don’t have access to an inversion table, then simply gab and wall. Lie on your back with your glutes to the baseboard and legs up the wall.
That’s about as basic of an inversion you can get. If you feel like advancing, there are several shoulder and head stands you can do either on the wall or not.
5) Compress your calves
Compression socks aren’t sexy, but they work. Nurses have long heralded the efficacy of such socks. If you wear pants to work, then you can get away with wearing compression socks no problem.
Just be sure they’re not too tight. And if you feel uncomfortable in them at any time, then remove them. The point isn’t to cut off circulation. The point is to help your circulation.
6) Soak your feet
A quality foot soak has many benefits. Grab yourself a tub of hot water. Add some epsom salt and essential oils of your choosing. Now sit back and relax.
The magnesium in the epsom salt is long known to help alleviate muscle tension. And the essential oils, especially lavender or chamomile, will help you to relax and relieve stress.
7) Get a massage
If you can squeeze it into your schedule and budget, then put a massage on the books. Don’t be afraid to snag one once a month or more.
Chiropractic offices sometimes offer massage therapy, which can be provided as a medical service and covered by insurance. These would be the perfect types of massages to help relieve lower limb fatigue since they’re more treatment based than the general relaxation massage.
If you plan on staying in your standing job for awhile, then take measures now to care for your body and health. Your body gives you the ability to do so much in life. Now’s your opportunity to give your body the tender love and care it deserves in return.