Over the last several years, we heard countless times in the news and online media outlets that sitting for too long is bad for your health. It burns less calories than standing, it isn’t as good for your heart and it even has implications for back pain if you happen to be slouching with poor posture. However, as salon and spa workers know, standing for long hours on end can be equally detrimental to your health, comfort and overall well being. However, there are certain measures which can be taken to minimize, but not eliminate, the effects of standing for too long while working.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF STANDING FOR TOO LONG WHILE WORKING?
Standing too long during work hours in a salon can affect the circulation in hips, legs and feet. Decreased circulation means pain, tight muscles and the sensation that various parts of your lower body are “asleep.” It can also affect the joints and nerves in the back, hips, knees and ankles which can lead to different variations of similar aches. However, there are certain precautions and measures, from sneakers to posture, which can be taken to mitigate some of these negative effects.
FINDING THE PERFECT SNEAKERS
Depending on the specific arch of your feet, the perfect work sneakers will be different. Most popular brands offer sneakers for low arched feet, normally arched feet and high-arched feet. If you don’t know which type of feet you have, you should visit your local sneaker shop as, in addition to tools which measure shoe size, they will also have instruments which are able to measure foot arch. This, in fact, is generally intended for restaurant workers, construction workers and other manual laborers like those who work in salons and spas. Several popular brands are Dr. Scholl’s, Sketcher’s and the popular athletic sneakers like Reebok, Adidas and Nike. By finding sneakers with appropriate support for your feet, arch types, back and ankles, you can minimize the pressure on your joints and simultaneously improve circulation in the associated muscles due to the improvements in posture which these sneakers instigate.
POSTURE AND BACK BRACES
If an appropriate, high quality pair of sneakers don’t resolve, or at least, largely mitigate the pain you are experiencing while working in a spa or salon, improving your posture and considering a brace for support may be something to consider. Improving posture is a conscious decision where you need to pay attention to how you are standing and distributing throughout the day. Are you allowing your back or neck to slouch? This can lead to muscular pain. Are you favoring one leg to support the majority of your body weight? This can also lead to aches and discomfort. However, if you are truly doing all you can to stand and walk with a correct and healthy posture and are still experiencing back or hip pain, you may want to consider a supportive back brace. Back braces can not only eliminate back and hip pain, but they can also correct and train the associated muscles so that you naturally stand and walk with better posture in the future.
CAPITALIZING ON BREAKS
Even with proper posture, excellent work sneakers and a back brace (if necessary), you will not be setting yourself for the most success possible if you are not capitalizing on break times and lulls in business activity. If you are truly standing, exclusively, for hours on end, you need to sit and relax your muscles when you have the opportunity. This means that, when you are not providing a pedicure, massage, hair service or facial, you should be resting in a position which is comfortable and relieving to your body. This, by the way, is equally applicable in the opposite manner if you happen to be sitting at a reception desk or pedicure station for hours. In this case, you need to get up and walk around during breaks. Too many hours, in any state, standing or sitting, is unnatural for the body.
Aches and pains are almost inevitable in almost any work environment which is predicated on standing, kneeling or maintaining any position for extended periods of time. Salons and spas are no different. However, there are many things which you can do to assess your own risk for these issues and take the correct course of action if you need to.