10 Best stretches and exercises if you stand all day at work

We have spent a lot of time looking at the issues with sitting down all day at work and how this can affect your posture, but what about if you stand all day? Lots of people have jobs that involve being on their feet all day including retail workers, nurses, hospitality staff.

Firstly when you’re standing for long periods there is a tendency to slouch or to tilt your hips and put all your weight to one side, or lockout your knees and push your hips forward. Shifting positions from time to time is a good thing, but if you can try to adopt a position of good posture more often than not it will help keep the right muscles activated and prevent fatigue. Good standing posture looks like this:

    • Chin parallel to the floor
    • Shoulders should be even
    • Spine should be neutral and straight, with no flexing or arching
    • Abdominal muscles should be braced
    • Hips should be even
    • Bodyweight evenly distributed between two feet

standing posture tick cross

The other thing that happens with long periods of standing is gravity of course helps blood to move down to your feet, but without the muscles contracting to help move it back up to the heart, feet can get tired, ankles can become swollen and fluid can pool in your lower body, so it’s important to move your body to help get the blood flowing and back up to the heart, and to activate those tired muscles in the feet and lower legs, as well as activating the upper body to encourage blood flow all over. Here’s a few easy movements you can do while you’re standing behind the cash register or in the kitchen to get your body moving.


Standing calf raises

Standing tall just slowly lift up on to your toes and lower back down. Repeat 10 times as often as your like

calf raises basic
Torso twists

Lift your elbows up and rotate your body from side to side to mobilise the spine and all the muscle through your core.

torso twist full
Quad stretch

Bend your knee and lift your foot up towards your bottom. Press your hips forward and keep knees together to stretch the quads of the front of your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds.

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Forward fold

Soften your knees and gently roll forward from your hips and down through your spine into a forward fold to release tension on your spine and stretch your low back and hammies

lower back stretch forward fold
Chest stretch

Reach your arms behind you, interlace your finger and lift up as much as you can to stretch across your chest and the front of your shoulders

chest stretch
Shoulder shrugs and rolls

Shrug your shoulders up tight towards your ears and then drop them down and press away from your ears. Then lift them up and roll them forwards and then backwards 5 times each. This helps to activate and then release tight upper traps in the neck and shoulders

shoulder rolls chair no words
Upper back stretch

Gently drop your chin to your chest, interlace your fingers and press your hands forward as you round your upper back to stretch the muscles in your upper back and around your shoulder blades.

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Side reach

Reach one arm up overhead and bend to one side, reaching your arm up and over to stretch all down your side, hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side


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Forearm stretch

Use one hand to grasp the finger of the opposite hand,  gently press your fingers backwards until your feel a stretch in the inside of your wrists/forearms. Repeat but pressing the fingers forwards to feel the stretch on the back of your forearms.

forearm exercises
Neck stretch

Tilt your chin down to your chest, then gently tilt your ear towards one shoulder, then the other, hold each position for 20 seconds, you can add resistance by gently pressing down on your head with your hand.

neck stretch chair no words