This series is looking at why standing is much more fatiguing than walking. When queuing at a theme park, or as mentioned previously, when standing all day at a music festival, my feet used to hurt so much. Since following these techniques, and standing much more whilst working, I have been able to alleviate these symptoms and other related pains.
Today we are looking at movement breaks, our second of five tips:
Tip 2 of 5: Movement breaks
Dr Kaitlin Gallagher at University of Arkansas researches prolonged standing and published a relevant study. “Moving around seems to be a good way to mitigate the pain you feel when standing,” this sounds obvious, but how often? Apparently, you need to move around for about 5 minutes every 30 minutes. She found that people with no history of back pain start to feel pain when movement breaks are not factored in.
What if you can’t give 16% of your working day to walking around aimlessly? By being creative, you might be able to increase your mobility whilst at work. Simply put, the main benefit a movement break gives you is that your spine moves around. You can do this without having to leave your work station. Try and straighten up your back by using a step (read box) and changing your leading leg every few minutes.
Alternatively, maybe you can make the most of time when you don’t need to be in front of your screen. Maybe there are necessary work related errands you need to run? Maybe you take phone calls, can you leave your work station and walk around when accepting a call? How about if you run some intensive processes, which locks up your machine? Take a turn around the office whilst it completes!
If all that still doesn’t fly, make the most of the time the kettle is boiling, doing some light stretches, maybe extend the process by a minute or two… Most employers would not begrudge their employees looking after their health in this way, so if you are self employed, remember to treat your ‘staff’ properly!