5 Exercises for People who are on their feet all day
First of all, the foam roll is your friend…Recent research shows that the foam roll can dramatically improve your performance. In fact, you might remember that recently another study shook up the fitness world when it showed that stretching can inhibit your performance when done prior to your workouts or athletic events. Leigh Mills and I discussed this in a past Fitness Friday segment. Stretching, mind you, is still really good for you, it’s just that when you do it prior to your workouts or athletic performances, it disrupts your neurophysiology in such a way as to reduce the amount of force your muscles can generate.
The foam roll, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. More recent research showed that even after highly intense workouts, consisting of multiple sets of squats, volunteers who used a foam roller on their leg muscles were far less sore and better able to leap and perform other physical tasks 72 hours later than subjects who did not use the foam roll.
Of course, standing all day is not really athletic performance, so the remaining four movements are focused on stretching, because when you stand on hard surfaces all day, you’re back, legs, and hips are going to become awfully tight. Stretching these areas of your body, including your calves, will help keep your pelvis in optimal alignment, and leave you more ready for your workout at the gym after work 🙂
This movement stretches both your low back along with your hamstrings. You have four hamstrings. They are on the back of your legs, and they become extremely tight when you stand and walk all day, especially on hard concrete surfaces. When your hamstrings get tight, they tug on the bottom of your pelvis, which tilts your pelvis and belly forward and causes additional strain on your low back.
Single Leg forward Bend OR One Point Hamstring Stretch
This is essentially the same movement pattern as in the forward bend, but here you are only standing on one leg. You can hold on to something to maintain your balance if you need to and watch out, this one is intense. Typically, it won’t take as much bending to find an even more intense stretch on the entire back side of your leg and calf.
This one hits all of the external rotators of your hip. Expecially the Piriformus. These exeternal rotators tend to tighten right along with your hamstrings when standing all day, and when they do, they pull your hips in to more external rotation and narrow the space inside your low back, ultimately contributing to that tightness you feel down there.
Take a Load OFF!
Finally, if you can, maybe when you sneak off to go do your foam rolling, try lying down and putting your feet up on a chair for 5 minutes. I know this isn’t technically an “exercise” but this position completely unloads your low back, helping to relieve pressure and tension and helping also to boost your energy level. I know, it sounds unbelievable, but try it. You’ll be amazed.
Have fun and don’t work too hard…
PS If you’re reading this prior to my segment on the air with Leigh Mills on NBC15, check back on Sunday or next week for the video part of the segment where you will see an actual demonstration of each of these moves and one or two with the foam roll.