Nurses. Parking wardens. Shop assistants. Stay-at-home-moms. Teachers. What do they all have in common? They spend a large portion of their day on their feet.
In many ways, this should be seen as a positive. Sitting, for example, is thought to be incredibly bad for you, so a day spent up on your feet might seem like the perfect counterbalance to this. You’re up and moving, burning calories and gently exercising throughout the day. What could be wrong with that?
The answer is simple: it’s tough. Being on your feet for more than a few hours has a tendency to cause a number of issues in terms of health and well-being. Your feet can be sore, your calves will ache, and you’ll sweat more than the average office worker. If your work involves you spending a huge amount of time upright, you’re going to want to guard against these concerns, so you can reap the health benefits of your active work life without any of the unpleasant downsides.
Magnesium is a vital nutrient, but it’s one that many of us are missing. It’s thought that at least half of the population do not ingest enough magnesium to sustain good health, and this is particularly worrying if you spend all day on your feet.
Magnesium is a muscle nutrient. Aches and pains in your calves from being upright can be alleviated by sufficient magnesium intake, especially if you’re already running low on the nutrient. Magnesium supplementation should be introduced gently due to its potential to cause nausea, so start at the lowest recommended dose and build up from there. There are a variety of magnesium supplementation methods to try, so take your pick from:
- Take a supplement (always ask your doctor before taking any supplements, of course!). Ionic supplements tend to be better absorbed than tablet form, so if you want to maximize your intake, ionic is the way to go. You can find ionic magnesium online and at some chemists, though you may specifically have to ask for it to be ordered.
- Use Epsom salts in a bath. Magnesium is well absorbed via the skin, so this is the perfect way to unwind after a long day.
- Make a magnesium spray, which you can spray directly onto skin as and when required. Here’s a handy video that demonstrates how you can make one for yourself:
You should find that with an increased level of magnesium in your body, you’ll experience fewer aches and pains when you’re upright all day. You may also experience better sleep and general health-- magnesium really is the mineral that offers a myriad of benefits!
The more you are upright, the more your body is going to need to work and -- inevitably -- sweat. To ensure you stay comfortable, you need to focus on the clothing you choose for a heavy day.
- As a general rule, loose clothing is far preferable than anything that is form-fitting. Teachers are best opting for dresses over pants options; nurses should opt for the usual colorful scrubs in a size that fits loosely over their frame; and stay-at-home-moms should choose loose t-shirts and leggings wherever possible.
- The one group that may struggle to adhere to this philosophy is women who work in occupations with a uniform. One option to increase comfort is to ask for a uniform a size larger than you normally take, and wear loose, breathable cotton clothes underneath it-- this will also help you avoid having to experience cheap polyester against your skin!
- Long clothing is preferable to short; for example, a shirt with arms that reach your wrists rather than your elbows. This will allow for maximum movement and comfort throughout the day. If you do want to wear short sleeves, then ensure they are loose around your arm rather than pressing into the skin.
- A good bra is essential if you’re going to be upright all day; you’ll need the extra support that a good bra offers to your upper back and shoulders. It’s important to be professionally measured for your bra size so you can be sure you’re buying the right one -- a surprising number of women are wearing the wrong size bra -- and then opt for soft cups and wide straps to ensure maximum comfort.
If you do find that you’re uncomfortable after a long day, you can use a body moisturizer or oil to help soothe your skin. If you experience issues with chafing, then you may want to try powders that are designed to ease the problem-- they won’t be the most glamorous cosmetic products you own, but they will make you feel more comfortable!
#3 - Footwear
Your choice of footwear is vital if you’re going to be on your feet all day long. Shoes should be comfortable, flexible, and durable. Materials such as leather tend to fit these criteria the best, as they will shape to fit your foot and should hopefully last for a long time. Leather can be expensive, but it’s usually a better long-term financial option than having to continually buy new pairs of footwear made of synthetic materials.
You may find that a low heel is more comfortable than a flat sole, too; the extra arch support can hugely increase comfort levels. Ideally, the heel should be a block heel or platform rather than a stiletto, as this helps to support the entire foot as you go about your day. Again, shoes that fit this description may not be the most flattering you own, but they are going to ensure you still feel good after a 12 -hour shift.
When you have new shoes, they are likely going to fail one of the above essential criteria: they won’t be flexible. Luckily, you can “break in” your shoes relatively simply if you follow the steps in the video below:
#4 - Momentary rest
Wherever possible during your day, take two minutes to help re-energize how your legs and feet are feeling. Take a few moments to yourself and stand upright, with one hand on the wall for support. You should then:
- Stand on one leg and swing your free leg back and forth a few times.
- Turn the ankle of your free leg 10 times in each direction, then point your toes for 10 seconds.
- Switch legs and repeat.
#5 - Tiger balm
Tiger balm is an essential health supply for any woman who spends large swathes of her time on her feet. The balm contains a blend of essential oils that help to interrupt pain signals being sent to your brain, so you remain comfortable. Tiger balm should be applied directly to the skin where you are experiencing discomfort; the soles of your feet and back of your calves are likely suspects when you’re upright all day.
You can buy Tiger balm online and in some chemists, or you can try making your own. It can be more expensive upfront to assemble all the essential oils you might need for the DIY method, but when you have them, you’ll save a fortune on future batches. This video helpfully shows you how to make your own:
There’s no doubt that a working day spent on your feet will take its toll on you physically, perhaps even to the point it impairs your ability to do your job. The tips above should help return some comfort to your working life, as well as helping to improve your health in general. Give them a try and see just how much of a difference they can make to you.