Close to half of all workers worldwide stand for more than three quarters of their work day. Prolonged standing can lead to fatigue, swollen feet, leg cramps, shoulder, neck and back pain, and even varicose veins.
While these health issues are problematic for those suffering from pain, employers should also take note. Ongoing pain can cause poor performance in the workplace and missed days of work.
A new study, published in Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, evaluated men and women in two age groups. They were asked to stand for five-hour periods with timed, seated breaks (up to five minutes) and a 30-minute lunch break. Muscle fatigue was monitored while participants reported their levels of pain or discomfort.
The study results showed that at any age, too much standing leads to fatigue.
If your job requires standing for extended periods of time, you can help lessen the effects by:
- Sitting down for breaks whenever possible
- Taking quick walks, if permissible
- Wearing comfortable shoes that fit properly
- Treating sore areas with ice or heat therapy, gentle stretching, and over-the-counter-pain medication, as needed