Nowadays, health is a major concern among many people all over the world. People should equally be concerned with their inner health as they are concerned with their physical health. Most people only concentrate with their physical health because it greatly determines their looks and first impressions. In most cases, you find yourself standing for prolonged hours either at your workplace, bus station, classroom, church or even at your house. Standing for long hours is closely associated with some negative experiences such as stiff legs, sore feet and low pain in the back.
Although most companies and institutions do not recognise prolonged standing hours as an injury, according to doctors and specialists, standing for long and prolonged hours have various safety and health consequences. According to a recent research, workers in manufacturing and service industries, teachers, supermarket attendants and health care providers spend more than four hours a day standing. Prolonged standing hours have some serious negative side effects, especially among pregnant women.
How the body responds to prolonged standing?
The most common effect of standing for prolonged hour is joint compression. According to scientists, the weight above compresses the weight below it. Therefore, while standing, your upper body puts pressure on your lower body hence compressing it. The recipients of this pressure are the joints and the back. The pressure squeezes the fluid out of the joints thus posing a great danger to your overall health and well-being. Your feet are forced to withstand your entire body’s weight when standing for long hours.
Therefore, your feet joints are squeezed off most of their fluids thus inhibiting circulation thus posing a great risk of joint malnutrition. Due to this, most parts of your body especially your joints suffers from tear and wear. Your back is composed of a long column of joints filled with body fluid to lubricate and help in nutrition. Therefore, due to the compression from the upper body as a result of long-standing hours the joints are bound to get exhausted thus tear and wear is bound to occur. This contributes to intensified back pain.
Secondly, standing for long hours leads to insufficient blood return in the legs. Like any other object or fluid, blood adheres to the law of gravity and it is bound to be pulled towards the feet. To be pumped back to the heart for a complete circulation, cyclic muscle contraction is very critical. When you are standing, you muscle only contracts to keep you standing thus inhibiting proper blood circulation and most of your blood is retained in your legs. Inappropriate and incomplete blood circulation leads to blood pooling around your feet hence causing varicose veins.
Finally standing for long and prolonged hours leads to postural muscle fatigue. Postural muscles serve to support your upper body while standing. These are some of the muscles that perform the greatest work of support while standing. These muscles require sufficient rest and nourishment to prevent them from tear and wear. Therefore, nonstop hours of work leads to improper and incomplete fluid circulation and nourishment hence causing a great harm to these muscles that eventually results in pain. Sleep is the best remedy to muscle and back pain because it gives these muscles a period to rest and nourish sufficiently. Back pain and sleep are co-related because poor sleeping posture can be a cause of back pain.
Some of the working conditions that aggravate prolonged standing
The workstation design and organisation significantly influences workers’ posture throughout the day. Therefore, employee should facilitate a work station that best suits the employees to avoid the health consequences of prolonged standing hours. In most cases, people engaged in office work are glued to their sits and computers for than eight hours a day whereas their counterparts in manufacturing and service industries spend most of their day standing.
A conducive work station should provide the employee with an option to either stand or sit. The best workstation should be designed in a way that all the tools of work are easily accessible and the chair should be adjustable to help the employees adjust sitting postures as he or she wishes. Workers who spend most of their day standing experience poor circulation and their muscles are strained hence the workers become less alert at work.
The health consequences of prolonged standing
Although standing is a natural body posture, standing for long hours can lead to many health risks that include swelling of the legs, low back pain, sore feet, general muscular fatigue and stiffness in the neck and shoulders. In addition, standing for long hours requires large muscular effort thus straining your muscles even more. The muscles that are largely involved in maintaining an upright posture even when standing include neck, back and legs.
It is your responsibility to take care of your health both internally and externally. Standing for long hours especially in workplaces is a major contributor of back pain and muscle fatigue. Employers should recognise the health risks posed by prolonged standing among their employees and work to improve their workstations to reduce the chances of the health risks closely associated with long standing hours.