6 New Habits for Hairdressers Who Stand All Day
As our Healthy Hairdresser survey revealed, many of you are struggling with back, neck, leg and foot pain. Much of that can be blamed on standing all day at work. On his website, author and fitness coach Eric Cressey offers strategies for anyone who stands all day. You can tweak those strategies to develop your own standing routine:
1. Correct posture problems. Cressey advises people who stand all day to “engage the anterior core and activate the glutes to get yourself into a bit more posterior pelvic tilt.” In laymen’s terms, this means tucking under your butt and holding in your stomach so that your body is aligned. It takes a while for this to become habit, Cressey says. “Be consistent with these basic adjustments,” he notes, “and eventually you’ll find yourself establishing a better resting posture.”
2. Exhale completely. You probably don’t know you can “breathe wrong,” but chances are you’re not exhaling as fully as you should be. Try it—exhale, and then see whether you can exhale a little more. With that further exhale, do you feel your pelvis tilting forward and your ribs dropping a bit? That relieves lower-back tightness.
3. Switch up your position. Instead of standing with your feet parallel all day, sometimes change to a split-stance position, which means putting one foot in front of the other. “The best posture is the one that is constantly changing,” Cressey says. Between clients, make sure you sit for a while or even find a place to lie down for five minutes. Bend, twist or go out and walk around the block; Cressey recommends rolling on the ground—if you do that at the salon, you’ll need a lint brush afterward!
4. Stretch. Throughout the day, perform quick back and shoulder stretches. In the break room, lie on your back and bring one knee at a time to your chest. Or bring that knee up while stretching your opposite arm straight behind your head. Bring both knees up and roll your back in a circular motion. Stand with your back against a wall and swing one arm up at a time. Then face the wall and, forming a half-circle with each arm, slide your arms to reach above you.
5. Rethink your workout. It’s possible that you’re bringing bad standing habits into your workout. It’s worth it to pay for one coaching session with a trainer who can watch your posture as you work out and make sure you’re correcting any bad habits rather than making them worse.
6. Try different types of shoes. You may even need orthotics to find the best combination of support, lift and firmness. Or, switching your shoes frequently may provide relief.