For the Health Nut In You…

On February 12, 2011, in Health, by admin

What Problems Do Women Face When They Stand All Day?

The effects of standing all day can show up almost right away. Prolonged standing and walking causes or makes worse health problems and soft tissue injuries including:
  • swollen or painful feet or legs
  • bunions
  • plantar fasciitis (inflamed connective tissue that goes from heel to toe, supporting the arch)
  • stretched Achilles tendon (tendinitis)
  • varicose veins
  • knee problems
  • low back pain
  • neck and shoulder stiffness
  • poor posture (and its effects)
  • restricted blood flow
  • increased chance of knee or hip arthritis
  • muscle soreness and fatigue.
So, can you relate to any of these symptoms? Recent studies also show regular standing may:
  • increase the risk for atherosclerosis (hardening of the heart arteries) in men; since women weren’t included in the studies, it’s unclear if they may be affected differently; and
  • cause pre-term delivery and lead to reduced birth weights, if the pregnant woman stands for more than three hours at a time.

How can these problems be prevented?

By law, employers must provide healthy and safe work for everyone in their workplace. They are in the best position to make necessary changes to prevent injuries. But sometimes individual workers and/or their unions must argue for preventive ergonomic solutions. These include:
  • working with individuals and unions to investigate jobs for standing problems;
  • fully-adjustable work surfaces, equipment and work stations which:
    • have different heights depending on whether work is precise, light or heavy
    • keep things within easy reach;
    • allow workers to face the task (to avoid awkward postures);
    • can be adjusted for pregnant workers’ needs;
    • give space to move and sit comfortably (eg. room for knees);
    • have foot clearance so standing workers are in a balanced position; and
    • include something on which to rest one foot when standing.
    • accessible fully-adjustable chairs and/or sit-stand stools (common practice outside North America);
    • when providing protective foot gear, ensure the choices fit women;
    • opportunities to sit and move about during the working day and to take breaks;
    • enough seating for all workers in rest areas and lunch rooms;
    • wooden, cork or rubber covered floors; and
    • anti-fatigue mats (not foam or too spongy, with beveled edges for safety and cleaning).
For the rising number of women who are self-employed, the responsibility rests on the women themselves to set up their working environment to avoid work-related injuries
try some of these simple exercises while at your station:
  • Stand tall and alternate bending one knee up to your chest and then the other. Do slow, controlled movements to work your abs, or make the moves quicker to get your heart rate up.
  • To warm up your hips and tone your abs, stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width distance apart, and do figure eights with your hips (it’s a belly dancing move).
  • stand with your feet together and lift one heel at a time up and down.
  • Stand with your feet under your hips and sway from side to side, and do circular motions with your hips clockwise and then counterclockwise.
  • Bend your leg behind you, grab onto your foot and stretch the front of your right quad. Do both sides. Here’s more details on this quad stretch.
  • Bend one knee and kick your foot back behind you, and then quickly alternate between sides.
  • Stand tall and alternate bending one knee up to your chest and then the other. Do slow, controlled movements to work your abs, or make the moves quicker to get your heart rate up.
To warm up your hips and tone your abs, stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width distance apart, and do figure eights with your hips (it’s a belly dancing move).
Great way to entertain your clients!
  • Run or hop in place.
  • Do side leg raises to work your outer thighs.
  • Do some squats.
  • Use your hair spray cans  and do bicep curls.
  • Do tree pose or another balancing yoga posture.
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