Best exercises if you are on your feet all day. For about a year, maybe two, I worked in a very high end chocolate shop. It was the kind of place where we had to be dressed up at all times (no pants, skirts or dresses only) and we had to be fully made up. Flats might be okay, but heels were preferable. The worst part was that we weren’t allowed to sit at all. We used to lean on the counter to get some relief but going home after hours of being on my feet was always the best part of my day. My ankles, calves and lower back were in constant pain and discomfort. The crazy thing is that this is when I was dancing full time, so I was fit and strong.
BEST EXERCISES IF YOU ARE ON YOUR FEET ALL DAY
Hamstring stretch. It’s important to keep those hamstrings flexible and while there are many stretches you can do, this one is going to stretch out your glutes as well as the back of your legs. Stand with your feet hip width apart, toes pointing forward. Keeping a straight/flat back, hinge your body forward and place your palms on a shelf, counter top or table. Hold for 10 seconds. Now take your weight slightly forward to the balls of your feet without lifting your heels. Hold for 10 seconds. Now rock back every so slightly and press your glutes away from you. Hold for 10 seconds.
Lower back stretch. You have two options here. The first is the next step of your hamstring stretch. Make sure that you are holding on to something that won’t move and round or curl your lower back while lowering your glutes to the floor (you will be in an exaggerated squat position). Hold for 20 seconds.
Calf stretch. Standing on the edge of a step, slowly lower your heels until you feel a stretch. Hold for 20 seconds.
Ankle exercises. When working out your ankles, you want to think of two things: 1) keeping them flexible as you need them to have mobility, and 2) keeping them strong. A great way to achieve both is to perform balancing exercises. Simply stand on one foot while you lift the other one off the floor. Once you get proficient at balancing for 10-15 seconds, try bending and straightening your standing leg. Once this becomes easy, upgrade to an uneven surface (hint, this is great for your core as well). A trick to working on this exercise is to do it barefoot, while focusing on spreading your toes and feeling that your whole foot is evenly pressing into the floor. As a warm up, include gentle ankle circles for a few minutes.
Foot exercises. Channel that ballet dancer in you. This exercise is best done with a stretch band, but if you don’t have one that’s okay too. Place the band over your foot. Gently pull on the band to create some resistance and then point and flex your foot slowly. Try spreading your toes and really focus on working through your whole foot. Do this 15-20 times on each foot.
Core exercises. No, no crunches here, as this is all about functional core training. There are lots of exercises that I like that you could be doing, but for now I’ve picked two that you can easily do at home. Side plank. Supporting yourself on your forearm or with a straight arm, position yourself in side plank position. Lift your top leg a few inches in the air and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Shoulder bridge. If you have a physio ball, place your heels on the ball and press the ball away from you. When your legs are straight, engage your glutes and abdominals and lift one leg off the ball then hold for a breath and repeat with the other leg. Do this 15x.