Fitness experts are urging people to get up and move during the workday. Research has shown that getting off your duff and standing frequently can help ease aches and stave-off illnesses associated with prolonged sitting. Many people have swapped out sitting desks for standing ones, hoping to reap wellness benefits like reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It might make you think those who work on their feet all day have it made.
But, before you jump up and stay up, take note! Standing all day can also pose problems. The aching feet of the cashier who stands on hard tile and the sore lower back and knees of the waiter who hustles between tables demonstrate that there can be too much of a good thing.
Fortunately, there are ways to counteract the aches associated with being on your feet all day. 10-15 minutes of dynamic stretching focused on toe yoga, hamstring release and lower back mobility can revitalize the joints, muscles, and tissues that take the brunt of a standing workday.
Grab a chair and a tennis ball. Shed your shoes and socks. Repeat each of these exercises 10 times:
For toe yoga, stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Lift both of your big toes while keeping your smaller toes relaxed and in contact with the floor. Lift all of your smaller toes while leaving your big toes on the ground. Alternate big toe/little toe lifts.
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Place your hands on the back of the chair. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly rise up on the balls of your feet.
Foot Fascia Release
Place the tennis ball under the arch of one foot. Roll the foot on the ball, applying steady pressure. Switch feet.
Hamstring Stretch/Ankle Release
Walk around to the front of the chair and face the seat. Put one foot on the seat of the chair. Straighten your lifted leg as much as you can while keeping the base leg slightly bent. Once there, slowly flex and point your toe. Repeat on the other leg.
Get on hands and knees on the floor with your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Arch your back into a “cow” position. Then, slowly, round your back to “angry cat.”
While on all fours, slowly lift your right arm in front of you while extending your left leg behind you for “bird dog.” Repeat on the other side.
Rock and Roll Twist
Roll over to your back. Bring your knees into your chest and extend your arms out to your sides. Let your knees rock to the right as you turn your head to the left for a bent knee spine twist. Repeat on the other side. After a set of 10, grab underneath your thighs and roll forward and back a few times before rolling all the way up to a seated position.
Take a few deep breaths and enjoy your reset!