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  • Sarah Morton - Physio

5 Top Tips for Healthy Standing

Back ache when you stand is so common. Standing and walking slowly around a gallery, waiting for the tube, standing at a cocktail party, waiting in an airport check-in queue – our backs get tired and achey. The pain can build and be very severe.

2 Reasons why standing is still so difficult for our backs.


When we stand for long periods, pressure from gravity and body weight gradually builds on the structures of our back which causes gradual increase in compression – This, in engineering terms, is called creep. As this occurs pain and aching can develop in the structures of our back.


The longer we stand the more likely it is our core muscles and posture muscles will fatigue and reduce their effectiveness. A fatigued muscle will ache, and will be less effective in protecting our back.

5 practical ways to Reduce Standing Back Ache

  1. Activate your core. The minute you feel back ache starting, or before, try these three exercises.

  2. Draw your pelvic floor muscles in for 5 seconds (as if stopping the flow of urine), then relax. Repeat several times.

  3. Draw in your lower stomach, below the belt line, without holding your breath. Hold 5 seconds. Repeat several times.

  4. Stand tall and clench your buttocks. Hold 5 seconds, repeat several times.

  5. Stand tall. The longer we stand, the lazier our core gets. And we slouch. So stand tall to your full height. And look straight ahead so your spine is erect.

  6. Shuffle around. Our bodies are not good at very static postures. So even when standing still, you should move. Shift your weight from one foot to the other, stand with one foot slightly in front of the other for a few minutes, then alternate with the other foot. Stand up on your toes for a few seconds.

  7. Stretch your back. Place your hands in the small of your back and gentle arch backwards. This reverses the pressures on the back and relieves the building pressure.

  8. Lean. If you can, find a bench to lean on. Even resting your elbow on a bench for few moments can help your fatigued muscles recover.

Standing pain is a very common problem, but these small exercises can really help to reduce the problem, improve your posture and help you enjoy the museums again!


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