Is Standing Bad for Your Health?

As coaches, you know we are adamant about staying active, moving your body throughout the day and hitting that step goal! 

Although many professionals spend the workday sedentary at a desk, the same can be said for professionals on their feet

Examples: cosmetologists, barbers, massage therapists, teachers, chefs, bartenders, healthcare workers, dentists, hygienists…the list goes on!

If YOU are one of those professionals, you likely are familiar and already experiencing the side effects from standing all day: aches and pains in your back and feet. Rightfully so, by the end of your day, you just want to sit and do nothing. While short rest breaks can relieve some of the pain, there is a much better, more permanent solution to ridding those pains once and for all!

Today’s blog explains:

  1. The negative side effects of standing all day

  2. 3 Exercises to be back on your feet, pain free!


While standing up and being active allows blood to flow through your muscles and organs, this can sometimes be “too much of a good thing”. 

Standing all day means you are working against gravity, and the constant stress creates repetitive, micro-traumas mostly to the joints in your knees, back and hips.  These microtraumas can range anywhere from constant inflammation in your tendons to constant lower back pain, sheer stress on the knees and soreness for all the wrong reasons. 

When it comes to combating and preventing these aches and pain, first thing’s first – posture!

Standing up straight is so important for pain management and comfort levels throughout the workday. How do you improve your posture? By actively and consistently using your postural muscles so they get stronger! Your postural muscles include:

  • Trapezius: muscle region extending from the base of your skull down to mid back and controls posture, head, arm, and torso movement.

  • Rectus abdominis: Often referred to as “abs” is a postural muscle that flexes the lumbar spine (low back) and helps stabilize the spine by controlling the lower rib cage and pelvis.

  • Gluteus Maximus: butt muscle to support hips and lower back.

  • Pelvic Floor: supports for the pelvic organs (bladder, intestines, uterus), aids in sexual function, breathing, pregnancy and childbirth, and maintains optimal intra-abdominal pressure for spine stabilization.

  • Rectus Femoris: quad muscle for bending/straightening knees, hinging / bending over at the hips.

Each postural muscle becomes easily fatigued during long workdays with excessive standing and having a deficit in these muscles can be a contributing factor to your discomfort levels and poor posture.  This is why it’s important to move around if/when on your feet all day in a fixed position to prevent joints from stiffening while keeping muscles flexible and healthy!  

Outside of moving around at work, THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO = EXERCISE!

Any deficits in the postural muscles are dramatically improved via strength training, exactly what we do here at Results Fitness in our Small Group Personal Training sessions. Strength Training (using weights / resistance when working out) builds muscle which creates a stronger, more stable “framework” to support the body.  Otherwise, if you don’t “use it, you lose it!”. 

Even better news?

Strength training doesn’t just translate to your workout or what you do at the gym – it makes your everyday life and ability to do things on your own easier!

If your postural muscles are weak, you will not be able to stand up straight and maintain good posture; impacting your ability to do your job. Daily tasks at home become painful and increasingly more difficult. For example, squatting down and bending over to pick up your kids/grandkids, kneeling at your garden, picking up that heaping basket of laundry, walking your dog, sitting down on the couch, getting out of bed, going up the stairs, and walking around the grocery store. Performing these simple, daily tasks is made possible by your postural muscles. If/when this stuff becomes hard, that’s a telltale sign these muscles are weakening and it’s time to start strength training.

A nice complement to strength training? Cardio based exercises to keep the endurance of your muscles so even when you’re tired, your body will know how to maintain proper form to reduce injuries, aches and pains.


Let’s just say you have a deficit in one or more of the postural muscles and the pain is slowly starting to creep in.  What should you do during and after your workday to reduce pain and build stronger muscles? Below are 3 highly effective and portable exercises you can do anywhere, anytime guaranteed to have you back on your feet pain free!

  1. Heel and Toe Raises:  If you must stand in one place all day, this is a great and simple exercise to get blood pumping throughout the body.  This muscle contraction below the knee will cause your calves and other leg muscles to contract and release.  This helps pump blood away from the ankles and reduces swelling and stiffness. To begin, start with your feet planted flat on the ground. From there, push your toes up so your heels come off the floor. Finally, lower your heels back to the ground and repeat! You can do these standing or seated.

    • Get started: Aim to do heel and toe raises 2-3 x/day, 10 reps each

  2. Leg Swings:  Leg swings are effective for having proper hip mobility and allowing blood flow through the entire leg. This exercise does require a wall to stabilize and some empty space.  To begin, start by standing in front of the wall, palms on the wall. Next, gently start swinging/extending one leg out and then back in towards your body. Repeat! After you’ve completed one side, switch to the other leg.

    • Get started: Aim to do leg swings 2-3x/day, 5 full swings per side.

  3. Foam Rolling:  If your back is constantly hurting or aching during your workday, you need a foam roller. At Results Fitness, we call this the “poor man’s massage” as it’s a portable and quick way to reduce stiffness, soreness and tissue tension while facilitating proper blood flow- all of which will help fix bad posture! To begin, lay on the foam roller belly up, with the roller vertically in line with your spine and your arms straightened out to your side, palms up towards the ceiling, Next, taking deep breaths, slowly start to open up your chest and elongate your spine, holding this position for 45-60 seconds.

    • Get started: Aim to foam roll 2-3x/day, holding this position for about 45-60 seconds.

Now that you know why standing in a fixed position all day can be bad for your health and 3 exercises to immediately rid that pain, you may be thinking:

“Ok BUT…..if I’m on my feet all day, I don’t want to work out and be on my feet even more!”

Admittedly, it does sound a little counter intuitive but after a long day on the job, it’s important to get blood flowing to all your muscles, joints and organs!  Consistently exercising and using weights/resistance to strength train is the only way your muscles get stronger and more resilient which equates to better posture.  It also forces you to constantly be contracting muscles while allowing blood to be pumped through the entire body.

“I already exercise consistently and foam roll but I still ache sometimes – what else can I do?”

If you already exercise consistently (make sure that includes strength training as not all workouts are created equal) and take time to foam roll, the next best thing is proper footwear! Having proper footwear for both your workout and your job that is both functional and supportive is so important!

What does “proper footwear” entail? You need arch support and a wide enough base so the toes can stay flat on the ground (get a cute pair of compression socks to match!).  Having the right footwear will allow proper blood flow while keeping you comfortable!

After reading through this blog, ask yourself these questions:

….”Do I have good posture at work?” 

…..”Are my shoes supportive?”

…..”Am I using downtime to move around so I’m not in a fixed position?”

…..”Am I exercising to active and train my postural muscles?”

….’’Am I foam rolling enough?

IF you answer “NO” to any of these questions, then it’s time to make some changes!  My first recommendation is adding strength training to your current workout routine or, if you are new to strength training, getting started!  At Results Fitness, your coaches and meet you where you’re at so regardless of your age or experience level, we personalize your workout to make strength training something you can confidently do AND enjoy!  Strength training is for EVERY BODY: all age and fitness levels, even beginners!

My next recommendation is investing in comfortable, supportive shoes and a foam roller (these are available at most retailers like Marshall’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, HomeGoods, etc.).  Proactively taking these first steps for building a strong foundation and keeping things moving will lead you down the path to more movement and less pain during your day so you can stay active at work, everyday life and the gym!



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