trust the pilot
Sitting for too long has been called the "new smoking," but standing for too long is just as bad for your health. Let's review why sitting or standing all day at work can cause health problems and the proper ratio of sitting to standing. We'll also discuss how graduated compression stockings can help reduce pain at work and protect you from further health complications.
Sitting and standing for too long: what's the big deal?
Sitting is so comfortable, why is it bad for your health? Standing and walking burns calories, so that's not a bad thing, right? Like most things in life, moderation is key. The following are potential health complications faced by those who spend too much time sitting or standing at work every day:
sit all day
If you spend most of the day sitting, chances are your shoulders, neck, upper back, and hips are often tense and sore. But muscle soreness is the least of your worries.
When you sit and work all day without proper walking breaks, your cardiovascular system is at increased risk of complications such as high cholesterol. Research shows that striving to stand and change posture during the workday is associated with improved cardiovascular health.
One study monitored office workers over a one-year period. Workers were instructed to take the time to get up and move around. Changing positions at the desk is also encouraged. Sitting is not prohibited, but reduced.
The researchers found that systolic blood pressure dropped after just three months. After a full year, the subjects lost a lot of weight, especially body fat. The researchers found that the subjects had smaller waist circumferences and better overall cardiovascular health.
One of the biggest concerns in the Western world is the epidemic of preventable diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Aside from poor nutritional choices, the biggest culprit is a lack of physical activity and exercise.
If you're sitting at a desk and working, it's easy to lose track of time, especially when you're busy. But you have to work on changing your posture, walking and stretching.
The World Cancer Research Fund has also conducted in-depth research showing that insufficient levels of physical activity are associated with cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and many types of cancer.
Researchers agree that there is always strong evidence that simply by increasing your daily physical activity, you can significantly reduce your risk of several diseases, including colon and breast cancer.
Muscle and Postural Twist Modes:
We all sit so long that we need to do a big stretch afterwards to counteract the cramps in our back, legs and neck. In addition to tension and pain, prolonged sitting can lead to unhealthy postural patterns.
Additionally, research in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science shows that the most common muscle twisting pattern is when our shoulders are bent forward, creating an unnatural curve in the back. This is usually caused by typing on a keyboard all day or having to constantly look down and text.
Another common muscle problem comes from not using your glutes and hamstrings. Since you sit on them all day, they are inactive, and the longer it goes on, the weaker they get. In response, surrounding muscles such as the calves, quads, and lower back tighten. The extra workload of these muscles can create tension and pain, while increasing the risk of injury.
Decreases bone density and mass:
Your muscle tissue isn't the only part of your body at risk. Your bone health is also a concern when you sit too much.
Sitting for long periods of time has been shown to reduce bone density and mass, putting you at risk for conditions like osteoporosis.
Your bones need to fight gravity. The constant impact of the foot on the ground helps increase bone density, strengthens bones and reduces weakness. The more you sit, the less chance your bones will get stronger, which puts you at higher risk for fractures as you get older.
It may seem strange, but your brain just like your body needs to be stimulated through physical activity. Unfortunately, if you are sedentary at work, you may have a negative impact on your cognitive development and overall cognitive health...so technically speaking, sitting for too long can actually lower your IQ!
Still not convinced? Yes, research has also shown that people who are sedentary reduce the thickness of the medial temporal lobe. This is a serious problem for older adults because this part of the brain is primarily responsible for memory. Some experts believe that the shrinking of the medial temporal lobe may play a role in the pathogenesis of cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer's.
stand all day
For occupations that require standing, such as waiters, bartenders, and nurses, the lower body and lower back will be the most obvious pain points. But standing all day can do more to the body than cause some aches and pains.
Muscle fatigue and cramps:
When you stand and walk, your muscles are in a state of constant contraction or tension. Research shows that standing for too long can start with simple discomfort and eventually lead to lower extremity fatigue. Eventually, fatigue turns into soreness and then cramps.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of this study was that the subjects experienced these symptoms without the extra weight! Now imagine how much discomfort, cramping, and pain could be if you were in a profession that required you to carry pallets or boxes.
Continuing the above point, standing for long periods of time can lead to chronic pain. Short-term or acute pain can last for hours or weeks. But chronic pain is defined as lasting three months or more.
Research shows that standing up for work all day can lead to chronic back pain. This can easily lead to several other problems, including dependence on over-the-counter pain relievers and musculoskeletal disorders. As we discussed above, when one muscle group weakens, nearby muscle groups must compensate. This can cause stress, tension, and pain, while increasing the risk of injury.
In addition to muscle problems, another problem in your lower body involves your veins. It turns out that standing for too long can cause the veins to become inflamed. This is exacerbated when you're not wearing the right shoes.
Over time, this inflammation can worsen and become chronic or long-term. Eventually, you may develop varicose veins.
Studies have shown that when standing for long periods of time, it can lead to inflammation of the veins. This inflammation may develop over time into chronic and painful varicose veins.
You can think of the vein as a one-way street. They push blood toward the heart, and the blood flows in one direction. When you stand all day, inflammation can cause blood to pool, adding pressure and weight to your veins. Eventually, you will develop painful and highly visible veins in your legs, especially behind your knees and calves.
Remember when we said sitting for too long is bad for bone health? Well, unfortunately, standing for too long is bad for your connective tissue.
When you work standing up all day, your feet, knees, hips, and back can get locked up. Studies have shown that this immobility can promote tendon and ligament rupture. Unlike muscle tissue, connective tissue takes a long time to heal and is more prone to long-term complications.
If your connective tissue continues to experience more than daily wear and tear, eventually, this can lead to the development of rheumatic diseases such as arthritis.
Ironically, standing too much also increases the risk of heart disease. Research shows that people who work in industries that require standing are twice as likely to develop heart disease as those who sit all day. how can that be?
Think about varicose veins and how they develop. Inflammation can lead to pooling of blood, which can lead to a lot of oxidative stress that increases the risk of health-related complications.
How long should you sit vs how long should you stand?
Sitting and standing are not inherently harmful to your health. Potential health problems only arise when you do too much. So, is there a magic number for how long you should sit each day compared to standing? While there is no perfect universal number, there are some general guidelines that are easy to follow.
If you work 8 hours in a seated position, you should spend at least two hours standing—ideally four hours. In other words, try standing up, changing positions, or walking around for 20 to 30 minutes an hour.
If you work 8 hours in a standing position, you should take a two-hour break for the entire shift. Over the course of an 8-hour shift, you sit for 15 minutes per hour.
Let's be realistic: are you able to follow these guidelines perfectly? maybe not. You may have to stay at your desk during an hour-long phone call. Or maybe you're a busy bartender at the peak of St. Patty's Day. If you can't make these sitting and standing breaks, compression stockings that stand or sit all day can provide a safe, effective, and proven way to reduce your risk of health complications.
The benefits of compression socks for standing or sitting all day
Compression socks are a type of stocking that fits better than regular socks. The tightness is comfortable, but not uncomfortable. This tightness creates a safe pressure that helps promote healthy blood flow and circulation, especially when pumping blood up to the heart.
Compression socks also offer many other benefits that can make a huge difference in your workday.
Improve blood flow:
Think about all the potential health complications listed above; most have one thing in common: poor or interrupted circulation. For example, when you stand for too long, you may develop varicose veins because inflammation impairs blood circulation in your legs. For those who sit all day, your cardiovascular health is at risk due to blood clotting.
Research shows that compression stockings are safe and effective in increasing blood flow and promoting healthy circulation. As we'll discuss below, proper blood flow has many benefits of its own, including improved nutrient delivery and absorption and prevention of clotting and varicose veins.
Prevent blood clotting:
Studies have shown that sitting for hours on end without rest can significantly increase the risk of blood clots.
Under normal and healthy conditions, a blood clot is a gel-like substance that forms around a cut or injury to keep you from bleeding.
However, if you have a blood clot, such as a varicose vein, from sitting for too long, the gel-like substance has nowhere to go. Eventually, it breaks off and travels up, getting stuck in the lungs or heart. It's an understatement to say this is a serious health risk. Research
showed that compression stockings significantly reduced the risk of blood clotting when standing and sitting for long periods of time.
To prevent varicose veins:
Continuing the above points, compression stockings prevent blood from building up in the veins of the legs. Varicose veins are caused when inflammation slows blood flow to the lower body, causing blood to pool.
Compression stockings force blood upwards, promoting healthy circulation and reducing the risk of varicose vein pain.
If you're standing most of the day, there's no doubt your feet and calves will swell. An easy way to check is to pay attention when you take off your shoes. Are you having a hard time slipping them off after get off work because they feel tighter or stuck? That's swelling.
Fortunately, compression stockings can reduce swelling in the lower body by preventing fluid build-up. In fact, one study looked at the workforce who had to stand all day. The study found that workers who used compression stockings reported less swelling and pain, even after long shifts.
The researchers strongly recommend that those who do not have the opportunity to sit during their shift wear compression socks during their 12-hour shift.
Promotes lymphatic system function:
Inside your body, there is something called the lymphatic system. Its main effects include promoting healthy circulation, enhancing immune response and supporting essential detoxification. When you have poor circulation, you can develop a condition called lymphedema, a buildup of lymph fluid.
Studies have shown that compression stockings can effectively improve the circulation of the lymphatic system and significantly reduce the risk of developing lymphedema.
Who can benefit the most from compression socks?
Compression stockings are a safe way to promote healthy blood flow and circulation in the general population. But compression socks that sit or stand all day are especially helpful for those in the following occupational fields:
Medical professionals such as nurses, doctors and dentists.
- Office workers such as call center representatives, customer service and IT representatives.
- Business travelers, especially long-distance travelers on business.
- Long-haul drivers, especially national truck drivers.
- Uber, Lyft, rideshare and taxi drivers.
- Restaurant workers such as chefs, servers and hosts.
- Retail staff, especially if you work in a warehouse and your job is focused on loading and unloading merchandise.
- warehouse worker.
Standing All Day Socks: Effective, Affordable, and Convenient
In a perfect world, we could all sit and stand to promote health and avoid complications. Unfortunately, our professions don't always allow us to do this. If you want to avoid the health problems associated with sitting or standing all day, compression stockings can help.
Wearing compression stockings during a shift promotes proper blood flow and circulation while reducing the risk of blood clots, varicose veins, and more.