January 2022 | News

Stretching Helps When You’re Standing All Day

stretching when you're standing all day - steel blue

The Australian Physiotherapy Association’s national Tradies Health Survey found that over 50% of Tradies and FIFO workers stretched before playing sport, while less than 25% warmed up before work. That same study reported 69% of Tradies believed work-related soreness was expected.

Whether you work in mining, manufacturing or agriculture, a long day in work boots shouldn’t leave you sore and stiff.

Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) National President Phil Calvert said “Tradies are at particular risk of a range of injuries as a result of the intensity and repetitive nature of their work, so it’s important that they put preventive health measures in place and get help before little niggles turn into more chronic issues. In this respect, Physios can be a Tradies best friend.”

"Increasing flexibility with 5-10 minutes of stretching every morning before work can make a big difference and help you warm up for the day. It’s particularly helpful to stretch the quadriceps, hamstrings, back and shoulder muscles."

If you are sore more often than your workmates, you might want to think about seeing a physiotherapist. In the meantime, here are a few easy stretches you can do before, during and after work to relieve lower back and leg soreness.

10 stretches you can do to prevent pain and injury

Many Tradespeople have to complete jobs that require either repetitive bending or awkward positions, so flexibility is really important. Here are 10 easy stretches to increase flexibility and prevent pain.

stretching when you're standing all day - steel blue

1. Knee-to-chest

Knee-to-chest is a great morning stretch. Roll out a yoga mat and repeat the cycle 3 times for each leg.

  • Start lying on your back
  • Knees bent, feet flat on the floor
  • Clasp just below one knee using both hands
  • Bring the knee toward your chest until you feel a slight stretch in your lower back
  • Hold for 30-60 seconds
  • Release and return to starting position
  • Repeat with the other leg
stretching when you're standing all day - steel blue

2. Side bend

You can do the side bend stretch several times throughout the day, during breaks and downtime.

  • Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your side
  • Raise your right arm straight up over your head
  • Lean left until you feel resistance
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds, then slowly return to starting position
  • Repeat with your other arm
stretching when you're standing all day - steel blue

3. Neck stretch

Your neck and vertebrae will love you for this easy stretch. Do 5 rounds on each side at least once a day.

  • Start facing forward (standing or sitting)
  • Turn your head slowly until your chin is over your shoulder
  • Return to start
  • Repeat on the other side
stretching when you're standing all day - steel blue

4. Hamstrings

This familiar stretch loosens the tightness in your legs, hips and pelvis. Do this once or twice a day.

  • Start with one foot on an elevated surface at least 30-50cm high
  • Slowly bend forward until you feel tension behind your thigh
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds
  • Slowly release and repeat, changing legs
stretching when you're standing all day - steel blue

5. Chest and shoulder stretch

After 5 rounds of this stretch, you’ll feel a lot more flexible.

  • Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your side
  • Bend both elbows 90° with fingertips facing up
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds
stretching when you're standing all day - steel blue

6. Happy baby

This one is a great lower back massage and a bit of fun. Get a video of the whole crew doing the happy baby together and tag us on Facebook and #steelblueusa 

  • Start lying on your back, legs in the air and bent so your soles are facing the ceiling
  • Hold the outside of your feet
  • Hook your elbows inside your knees
  • Rock gently side to side
  • Flex your heels into your hands at the same time
stretching when you're standing all day - steel blue

7. Pec stretch

This stretch will reduce tightness when working on items in front of you all day.

  • Stand in front of a doorframe with the door open
  • Elevate your shoulder to approximately 90 degrees so your forearm is against the doorframe at around shoulder height
  • Keep your forearm on the door frame and step forwards with the leg close to the door frame
  • Slowly rotate your chest away until you can feel a stretch across your chest
  • Hold for 30 seconds
  • Slowly release and repeat on the other side
stretching when you're standing all day - steel blue

8. Forearm stretch

Stretching the forearms helps to reduce the risk of injury from gripping tools all day.

  • Extend your arm straight in front of you
  • Extend your wrist back towards your body (palm facing away from body)
  • Pull the fingers further back with the other hand to stretch the front of the forearm
  • Hold for 30 seconds
  • Release and repeat stretch on the back of the forearm (palm facing towards body pulling the back of the hand down)
APA stretches - Calf stretch with wall support'

9. Calf stretch

Stretching the calf muscles helps to reduce tightness from prolonged walking.

  • Stand with one leg in front of the other with the front knee bent and the back knee straight
  • Keep your heels on the floor and toes pointing forwards
  • Bend the front knee moving the body forwards to stretch the back of the calf (of the straight leg)
  • Hold for 30 seconds
  • Release and repeat on the other side
APA stretches - Plantar fascia stretch on a step

10. Plantar fascia stretch

Stretching the plantar fascia helps to reduce foot pain and prevents the development of plantar fasciitis.

  • Stand straight facing a wall
  • Place the toes of one leg against the wall
  • Keep your heel on the floor
  • Keep your knee straight and bring your hips to the wall
  • You should feel a stretch under your foot
  • Hold for 30 seconds
  • Release and repeat on the other side

Prevention and workplace injury management

Seek advice from your physiotherapist as soon as you feel a niggle, to prevent it from getting worse and prevent you from having enforced time off work to recover. The earlier you see a Physiotherapist for even the smallest injury, the quicker it will get better and the less chance your work will be impacted. Your Physiotherapist can also give advice on how to prevent it happening in the future.

Increasing flexibility with 5-10 minutes of stretching every morning before work can make a big difference and help you warm up for the day. It’s particularly helpful to stretch the quadriceps, hamstrings, back and shoulder muscles.

Despite your best efforts, jobs involving manual and repetitive tasks will, from time-to-time, result in aches and pains. It is best to see your Physiotherapist early before the issue progresses to something more serious. Your Physiotherapist can advise you on how to manage your work without making the issue worse, along with providing treatment and exercises to assist in a speedy recovery.

Occupational Health Physiotherapists can also visit your workplace to assess your tasks and provide advice to help manage the problem, as well as prevent re-aggravation.

What Do Work Boots Have To Do With Back Pain?

The right Tradies’ work boots should be comfortable all day, every day. From boots for Construction workers to agricultural safety boots, all Steel Blue safety footwear is built with patented Trisole® Comfort Technology, which incorporates three main components for ultimate comfort; an Ortho Rebound® Footbed, midsole and outsole. Plus, Steel Blue boots are backed by a 60-Day 100% Comfort Guarantee.

We’re proud to be the only safety footwear manufacturer to earn Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) endorsement and the only footwear manufacturer participating in the American Diabetes Association’s Better Choices for Life program, recognizing how our technological advancements help Tradies avoid stress-related knee, hip and spinal pain.

You’ll find the most comfortable work boots at one of the Steel Blue distributors around the US, view your closest store here.

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