Many people spend their days sitting at a desk for work or school. Unfortunately, long hours of sitting without moving around can cause many health issues, including muscle pain and wasting, joint issues, circulation issues, and more. One of the solutions many people consider is standing desks.
Standing desks are a great option for getting you up and active while still performing your work or school duties. However, even standing desks can bring along more health issues. Using standing desks improperly has been linked to increased back pain, spider veins, and may increase your risks of developing varicose veins.
There are a variety of things you can do to remain healthy while using a standing desk. This includes stretching, alternating between standing and sitting, walking when using the phone, and more.
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Does standing at work cause varicose veins?
While standing at work will not guarantee you will get varicose veins, it has been shown to be a possible factor when using a standing desk. Varicose veins will start to develop in certain groups of people, such as pregnant, overweight, of older age, or have a family history of varicose veins.
Whether these are directly caused by a standing desk is debatable, and something that many experts are still debating about. Until more studies are done, experts agree that using a standing desk properly can be better for your overall health than sitting. This applies to both desk job workers and students in school.
How does standing cause varicose veins?
While you are standing, the veins in your leg have to work harder to move blood throughout your body. Since they are working against gravity as well, this can cause added pressure on the veins, which leads to swelling in the vein itself.
As the blood pools in your legs and the veins swell from the extra pressure of moving blood, you may start to notice the development of spider veins. These spider veins are a smaller and less noticeable version of varicose veins and can be used as an early warning system for you to change how you sit or stand.
Additionally, wearing tight clothes can also restrict blood flow which adds to your potential to develop varicose veins. Weight gain and pregnancy have also been linked to varicose veins as the added stress placed on your body from this weight gain means your heart has to work harder to move blood through your body.
How do you prevent varicose veins when standing all day?
If you are in a job where you stand for long hours, such as construction or nursing, finding the time or a place to sit down may be easier said than done. This also applies to desk workers or students who may use a standing desk all day for their duties.
Experts in the medical field will recommend that you try not to stand in the same position for an extended period. Try moving or shifting your weight from one foot to another every 30 to 60 minutes. Using ancan also help by distributing your body weight evenly across your feet and legs taking pressure off of certain veins and nerves.
There are other ways to help reduce the chance of developing varicose veins when using a standing desk including occasional stretch breaks and wearing compression socks or stockings.
Being able to take a short break several times throughout the day can help keep your blood moving, your veins relaxed, and oxygen pumping throughout your body. These stretches don’t have to be anything extensive, in fact, just a simple flexing of your calf muscles or high-stepped walk to the bathroom can help.
Stretching of any kind can improve circulation. It ensures blood does not pool in one area for too long and helps reduce the risk of your veins becoming swollen. Even if you cannot set aside a dedicated schedule for a stretch break, just bending over to pick up a pencil from the floor can help get blood moving out of your feet and legs.
Wear Compression Socks
In a small contradiction to not wearing tight clothing, compression socks or stockings can help in reducing the chance of varicose veins. The purpose of these socks is to compress your muscles which helps stimulate blood flow through your lower legs. It can also help prevent excess fluid buildup that causes lymphedema.
Compression socks can come in a wide range of colors and patterns to fit in with your normal attire. Even if you work in a formal setting or one that has a strict dress code, you will be able to find a pattern that suits your needs so you can wear compression socks or stockings discreetly.
Is a standing desk bad for your legs?
Overall, while there is the risk of you developing spider veins or varicose veins, being able to use a standing desk for at least some of your day is a healthy choice to make. Alternating between standing and sitting several times per hour can make a world of difference in your comfort levels, blood circulation, and more.
While there are some signs that point to standing for extended periods of time as a leading cause of varicose veins, using a standing desk can still be a healthier option than sitting for the entire time.
If you are using a standing desk and want to prevent spider veins and varicose veins from forming or worsening, be sure to take frequent breaks for stretching, switch from standing to sitting several times throughout the day, and consider wearing compression garments to help aid circulation.
For pregnant women, obese individuals, and those with signs of varicose veins throughout their family history, the risks of developing spider veins and varicose veins may be increased overall. However, when given the option to stand or sit, circulation can be better maintained while standing. As long as you can adjust your position and maintain the blood flow in your lower legs, the risk of varicose veins is minimized.