Sitting all day is terrible for your health, but so can being on your feet all the time. Whether you’ve adopted a standing desk or have a job that requires you to stand a lot, here are a few movements you can do to counteract the strain of standing.
These exercises can help with problems like sore or swollen legs and feet, tight calves, lower back pain and so on, and should be combined with standard recommendations like wearing comfortable shoes (and perhaps also compression socks), alternating sitting with standing, and getting a good anti-fatigue mat (if possible).
Lacrosse Ball: Massage your feet and restore their vitality with a quick 1-5 minute massage on the feet.
Leg up with ankle circles: Place a leg on a chair until you feel a nice hamstring stretch, then make ankle circles to help stimulate the nerves and begin the relief.
Split Squats: Take a long stance with one leg forward and the other backward. Drop straight down and touch the back knee to the floor — you should feel a nice stretch in the top of that thigh.
Dr Melissa West recommends the “legs up the wall” move to relieve tired legs and feet and mild backache. In the video above, she also demonstrates “knee to chest” pose and the “figure four stretch”.
Those require you to lie on the ground, and they may best done at the end of the day. During the day, though, you can try other yoga poses we’ve mentioned before, including Standing Half Moon (a side-bending pose), Tree Pose (balance on one leg with the other leg at an angle on your thigh), and Standing Forward Fold.
Standing Fit offers 14 stretches and exercises you can do at a standing desk, such as the quad stretches shown above. Ignoring the oddness of the model wearing heels, here are a few more examples:
Single Leg Balance & Reach
Exercises for Foot and Heel Pain
Finally, if you suffer from plantar fasciitis, a strain on the ligament that supports your foot arch or other kinds of foot pain, the above video offers a few stretches, which are especially good to do in the morning before you start walking. Work all of these exercises into your daily schedule and you’ll be good to go.