While the hazards of desk workstations are well-documented, the same cannot be said of working on your feet. The good news is that it is possible to maintain good physical health in a standing environment by following these three health tips:
- Correct desk setup
Although standing workstations are a relatively new phenomenon, we need to be just as vigilant as we would be about regular desks to avoid injury.
- Sit when you can. It is extremely important to take the occasional break from standing up where possible.
- Remember, that your legs, body, neck and head should always remain in a straight line.
- Use extra gel insoles in your shoes in the short-term, and consider a bespoke pair to avoid long-term damage (see below)
- Posture management
Although it sounds obvious, the key to maintaining a good posture is to be constantly aware of how you are standing and to correct your posture when necessary. Be honest because you’re only cheating yourself!
- Make sure that your toes are pointed forward rather than curled, and that you are tightly anchored to the floor.
- Focus on tightening your buttocks while keeping your pelvis straight. At the same time, clench your abdominal muscles to make minor adjustments (though not too hard). Finally, ensure your shoulders are nicely rolled back and remind yourself periodically to return to this position
- Some people prefer to keep one foot on a rest throughout the day, though this may not be of much assistance if your occupation involves moving around. Regardless, there are other standing aids that may help if you spend most of the day on your feet.
Finally, stretching throughout the day is a great way to guard against injury and avoid having to take a sick day. You should aim to do this every couple of hours to prevent stiffness.
- Standing aids
There are several pieces of equipment that are designed to mitigate against standing-related ailments. We’d recommend giving these products a try:
- Anti-Fatigue mats
Anti-fatigue matting is designed to cushion the feet, particularly against hard floors such as concrete or stone. It is important that the mat you choose isn’t overly soft, as this can lead to increased strain in the legs and back. Other considerations include the stickiness and durability of the mat which will depend on the environment in which you work.
Use a footrest to take some of the weight off your back. Shift from one foot to the other to give both legs an equal rest throughout the day. This will help avoid unnecessary leg and back strain.
- Good shoes
As with running, the difference the right pair of shoes can make is immense. High heels or tightly-tailored shoes are an obvious no-no. Get yourself fitted for some specialist trainers. A professional will be able to tell whether you have pronated or supinated feet, high arches or anything else that may affect your health over time
In summary, if you’re thinking of making the transition to a standing workstation, make sure you follow the tips above to avoid any mishaps!