Standing for 8 Hours: Is It Bad?
In ancient times when work meant literal physical labor, heart problems and similar lifestyle diseases were seldom heard of. What were common are physical injuries like falling or slipping. Now that work for many individuals means sitting in front of the computer for 8 hours or more every single day, we don’t hear much of physical injuries at the office. But, many people suffer a quiet and deadly condition – the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle that includes heart problems, diabetes, back pains, and other cardiovascular diseases.
It’s no wonder that the moment many people realize the serious consequences of their sedentary habits, so many went scrambling to change their day-to-day activities by being more active, by standing more at work, and by generally increasing their movements… Which were all good, until these are overdone and the habits become harmful.
Now the question: Is standing for 8 hours bad?
Standing more is an immediate and a quick solution to breaking your sedentary habit. But like all activities, you need to put a healthy limit to being on your feet. Like sitting or any other activity, standing for a prolonged period of time is bad for your health.
The Risks of Prolonged Standing
Standing for an excessive amount of time may post some risks to your health and other areas of your life. Some of the most common risks are the following:
Increased risk for heart disease.
As much as prolonged sitting is harmful to your heart, so is prolonged standing. When you stand for too long, your blood tends to pool in your legs, unable to properly circulate around the body. In effect, the veins have to work doubly hard to distribute the blood evenly to parts that need it.
Lower limb muscle fatigue.
This results from the combination of the blood pooling in the limbs and the muscles having to hold your entire body upright. The most common effect is pain in the legs, feet, and ankles, often accompanied by swelling.
These are perhaps the most visible effect of prolonged standing, caused by the weakening of the veins in fighting off the pull of gravity on the blood. Under normal circumstances, the veins are able to direct the blood from the feet and legs, upwards into other body parts during circulation. However, prolonged standing can weaken them and render them susceptible to the pull of gravity. This causes excess blood flowing backward, thus leading to the expansion and bulging of the veins.
Apart from muscles, the joints (especially those in the hips, knees, and ankles) also suffer from stress when you stand for a long time. They take the brunt of your body’s weight; and without movement, they lose their normal lubrication that may lead to pain when you move.
General exhaustion and loss of focus.
Apart from the lower limbs, stiffness may be felt in the back, shoulders, and neck as a result of prolonged standing. Fatigue often occurs after standing for 5 hours, dependent on factors such as your overall body condition and the nature of the work you’re doing.
Who are at Risk?
There are specific groups of people at risk of the conditions mentioned above, people whose work demands that they stand for the most part of the day, such as bartenders or restaurant servers, teachers, or those working in retail and similar industries. Individuals who are transitioning to standing while working may be susceptible, too, if standing is done in excess or improperly.
How to Prevent the Risks of Prolonged Standing
To avoid the ill effects of prolonged standing, the solutions are categorized in two parts – reducing the instance or length of time spent standing and using supportive devices to reduce the strain on the body parts that suffer when you stand for too long.
Go on rest breaks
As much as you can, and especially if you start feeling the fatigue after standing for a while, try to take a break by sitting to rest your feet and legs and give them some relief. And while you are standing, make sure that you shift in place and don’t stay in one position for too long.
Get supportive shoes
When it comes to standing for a long period of time, footwear affects not just comfort but overall health. Your shoes must be comfortable and able to completely support your feet. It should not have high heels, and it must be designed to support your arches.
These are alternatives in case your shoes are not too comfortable. You can add sole inserts for extra cushion so that your arches and sole will have added support.
These are pads specifically designed for standing. They come in different shapes, sizes, and designs, built to support and relieve pressure on key parts of your body such as the feet, knees, and even the back. Some pads are designed to promote feet movement while you’re standing, while others are crafted to combat fatigue.
These are fully adjustable desks that will allow you to alternate between sitting and standing. The desk’s height can be easily adjusted, so it can work both as a standing desk and as a regular desk. Adjustment is easy. The MotionGrey adjustable desk, for instance, comes equipped with a dual-powered motor, which allows for a swift and hassle-free shift from one height to another. Adjustable desks are recommended additions to your home or workplace if you plan to make safe standing a regular part of your working lifestyle.
Anything in excess is bad. And as much as too much sitting is harmful to your health, the same is true for excessive standing. Fortunately, for people whose jobs offer no other choice but prolonged standing, or for people who are intent on breaking the habit of continuous sitting at work by standing more, there are things you can do to reap the benefits of standing without suffering from the negative effects.
We hope the information above will help inspire you to continue the habit of standing while working. Start looking into the solutions we offered and see which works best for you. For those looking for a long-term lifestyle change, nothing beats an adjustable standing desk as a reliable and valuable investment.
MotionGrey is a Canadian standing desk company that specializes in ergonomic furniture. We supply and install only the best quality standing desks and ergonomic chairs in the country.
Our products are designed with wellness as the focal point. From our electric standing desks to our office and gaming chairs, we deliver best value by putting your health, safety, and comfort as top priority. Boost your creativity and level up work performance. We want you to create great outcomes so we’re providing you only the best tools to make them possible.
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