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Are you standing continuously at work for more than 5 hours a day?
A recent study published in 2017 by American Journal of Epidemiology reported that people who are standing for long periods at work without the chance to sit down have twice the risk of developing heart disease as compared to people who can take breaks and sit at work.
The risk of heart disease is comparable to people who SMOKE and people who are OBESE.
Though workplace programmes have focused on reducing smoking and losing weight, few have considered providing chairs or sitting opportunities for workers.
Apart from heart disease, standing for prolonged periods also lead to many other long term problems.
Do you see veins popping out along your legs and feet? That is a warning sign of poor blood circulation. When you stand for long hours, it is harder for blood that goes to your feet to flow upwards back towards your heart. Sometimes, blood will accumulate in the veins, causing them to swell and form these varicose veins.
Standing puts a lot of pressure on the joints of the hip, ankles, knees and feet. Without resting or moving around, your joints can become stiff and stuck over time, and this makes walking difficult.
Even though you may not feel ache or soreness, this research has shown that your muscles are in a fatigue condition when standing for more than 5 hours. Your muscles become tight and it affects your posture. This can lead to other problems like lower back pain and leg pain. More often than not, your back pain or leg pain could be caused by muscle tightness.
However, research has also shown that by merely having regular breaks where workers can sit,dramatically reduces the risk of all these long term health problems.
If your job involves a lot of standing, we hope you take this Chinese New Year holiday to have a good break!
Share this with your employer and let them know. Short breaks in between work not only reduces long term health problems but could also improve work productivity.
In the next article, we will discuss what are some good shoes you can wear and how to choose them.
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