Standing all day can be bad for you
We often hear about the damage sitting all day can do to the bodies of office workers. A sedentary lifestyle can cause a variety of health problems, such as obesity and chronic pain. What isn’t discussed nearly as often, however, is that too much standing can be bad for you as well. As a hair stylist, standing for hours on end can be considered an occupational hazard, and can have harmful effects on the body. So what are these negative effects, and what can be done to reduce, and maybe even prevent them? Let’s take a look:
Research has shown that there are both short-term and long-term side-effects to standing all day. If a person has a profession where they stand on their feet for longer than five hours a day, they risk lower-limb muscle fatigue which can manifest in aching joints and sore feet. In the long term, constant standing can contribute to more serious conditions such as chronic back pain and musculoskeletal disorders.
Stylists spend hours of their day up-right, especially when working out of a salon. Some even juggle multiple clients at a time, or schedule appointments as close together as possible in order to turn more of a profit. This leaves little time to put their feet up and take a break.
So as a hair stylist, if constantly being on your feet is part of your craft—part of your livelihood—what can be done to reduce the stress on your body? Many experts agree that shifting positions and frequent breaks are helpful, but this can be difficult if a stylist’s schedule doesn’t leave room for many openings. Still, it’s recommended that a stylist looks for those opportune moments to take care of their bodies. Do a quick stretch while a client is under the hair dryer, or schedule appointments with big enough gaps in between them to allow your body to relax.
If experiencing lower back pain, or other muscular stress is a concern, another way to alleviate the pressure is through improving posture. Many professionals say keeping your shoulders back and aligned, stomach muscles engaged, and knees slightly bent will ease the strain on the body.
Wearing proper footwear will also assist in relieving pressure on the joints and muscles. The best shoes should fit correctly, have a lot of cushioning, and support the arches. While they may be fashionable, heels, ballet flats, and sandals are not recommended if the wearer will be standing for an extended amount of time. This is due to a lack of stability they provide the foot, often guiding the person wearing them towards improper posture.
Here are some options to consider:
Dansko is a brand that constructs their shoes with foot, leg, and back health in mind. the Hilde flat in particular, is a flexible, light-weight shoe that still offers arch support. Added bonus of a memory-foam footbed.
Clark's is another well-known brand in terms of healthy footwear. It is the go-to shoe for many nurses, and other professionals who have to stand on their feet all day. Their Haydn Shipper Flat is a simple shoe with an OrthoLite footbed, and a shock absorbent outsole.
If standing all day is a non-negotiable part of the job (as it is for most hairstylists), it takes a conscious effort to try and minimize the damage that standing can do. Whether it is focusing on breaking poor posture habits, taking breaks, or investing in comfortable footwear, there are many options available to a stylist looking to protect their bodies for the long-term.