When I was a teacher I spent a lot of time on my feet. I would sit and stand all day long. As a teacher, you want to dress professionally and yet have clothing that works in your teaching environment. Shoes are an important factor to consider if you are standing for long periods each day.
Being on your feet all day helps you burn about 200 – 800 calories. Steps walked could range from 5000 – 20,000 depending on job type. Yet, brisk walking is what is considered good exercise. A sustained higher heart rate is recommended by the American Heart Association for good exercise.
Compared to a 30-minute walk, that burns about 200 calories, standing all day seems to be burning the same or more calories, so you might think it’s good exercise, but there are some reasons why it’s not as helpful as just exercising for 30 minutes each day. Let’s discuss some of the pros and cons of standing all day.
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The Health Pros and Cons of Standing All Day
Some people try to walk 10,000 steps a day to help them burn calories each day. While this is a great way to get your body moving and burn calories, it still might not be considered good exercise (See article about How Much Walking is Best). Why? Because our bodies need moderate exercise to stay healthy.
What is Moderate Exercise
Moderate exercise is when our heart rate is raised consistently to a level higher than normal. You can usually tell if you’re engaged in moderate exercise when talking starts to get difficult and your breathing is heavier.
Standing all day usually doesn’t bring our heart rate up much. So while we can say we are burning more calories, we can also say that our heart and body aren’t benefiting as much as a moderate exercise routine.
Benefits and Problems From Standing All Day
Initially standing all day might not be a problem for most people. It is healthy to move and the more we move the healthier we tend to be.
Walking and moving bring great health benefits if we do them daily. Although, if we go for a walk we don’t wear our dress shoes, but when we go to work and stand all day we might.
Problems can occur because of the shoes we wear and any underlying problems that we may have before we started a job where we are standing all day. Some work shoes are not the best shoes for standing.
Although shoes have gotten better at providing comfort and support, not all shoes are good for standing. I used to wear shoes that looked professional but did not have much cushioning. They looked nice but weren’t good for my feet.
Those who wear shoes that are stiff, not cushioning, and also have some problem with their feet or joints already will find standing all day problematic. Soon the impact of body weight, lack of foot support, and hard impacts with the ground will cause them pain or other problems.
This chart gives some pros and cons of standing all day.
If we exercise regularly and control our weight, some of the problems that we can encounter from wearing dress shoes all day might not be as bad, but they will still have an impact on our feet and body. Here are just some of the reasons behind the pros and cons of the list above.
Explanation for Pros and Cons
- Calories Burned – Stand and moving for long periods can help us burn a lot of calories. Use a smartwatch or device and estimate about 40 calories per 1000 steps.
- Blood Circulation and Mental Alertness – The more you circulate your blood the better. It helps provide your cells with better oxygen levels, more nutrients, as well as getting rid of waste better. An added bonus is our mental abilities function better.
- Muscle development and muscle loss prevention – Moving and standing activate our muscles. Muscles can get stronger and we prevent muscle loss that can occur from being sedentary.
- More Energy – Active people tend to feel better and have more energy. You may find like myself that you have more energy at the end of the day to get things done.
- Impact Joint Health – Depending on our weight and our shoes, the health of our joints can be affected. Overweight individuals create more pressure on joints. Shoes without cushioning will cause heavier impacts on the ground.
- Fallen Arch – Wearing shoes that are stiff and squish the toes together doesn’t allow your foot muscles to activate. (See article about Shoe Width)Your arch can eventually fall without muscle support.
- Impact Back Pain – For those who bend and stand a lot, wearing good shoes is important. If you find yourself sitting and standing a lot make sure to have the correct size chair and wear cushioning shoes to help with back pain.
- Foot problems – Shoe can help your feet get stronger or weaker. (See article about Guide to Buy Shoes for Standing All Day) Many dress shoes tend to lack the ability to let your muscles activate. Some contort your feet. You may find over time that your feet develop corns, bunions, ingrown toenails, and athlete’s foot.
Good exercise occurs when we can raise our heart rates consistently and wear shoes that help maintain healthy joints and strong feet. At work this usually can’t occur so we can call this beneficial movement that is healthy for our bodies.
We just need to be careful to wear the right shoes. When standing all day at work trying to find shoes that are flexible and have the correct support for your foot type. Many walking shoes can work well as standing all-day shoes.
Getting in Good Exercise Each Day
Sometimes you can get in some exercise at work by taking a brisk walk during your lunchtime. Expect to sweat if you are exercising the right way, so you may want to bring an extra pair of clothes if you have a place to change.
If you can’t do moderate exercise you can always take a leisurely walk or bring some type of exercise equipment to work on various types of exercise.
If work just isn’t a place you can get in any exercise, besides standing a lot, you may want to consider exercising before or after work to maintain to most health benefits by exercising with moderate intensity.
It might not seem like it makes sense to stand all day and then exercise as well, but your body needs your heart rate to increase for sustained periods to maintain its best level of health.
Standing all day can be beneficial, but only when we wear the right shoes, maintain a healthy weight, and don’t have any preexisting problems with our joints or feet.
The best way to get good exercise is to do moderate levels of exercise for about 150 minutes each week. This way our heart rate is consistently higher for periods of time.
If you have a job where you need to stand all day be sure to get some good shoes that provide all-day comfort and continue to exercise outside of work to help prevent any problems that might occur from standing all day.
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