Have you ever noticed that many bars have a metal rail that runs along the bottom? You might have even caught yourself putting your foot up on one while standing and having a drink. The rail serves a functional purpose. When you put one foot up on it you change the weight distribution of your body, which if you have been standing for a long time, can bring great relief and allow you to stand comfortably longer. Somewhere along the way bar owners realized the combination of a foot rail and salty snacks will keep people drinking for longer.
In the past we've discussed the importance of standing but how we stand is something we often take for granted, even though its an important component of Fitness For Life both in and out of the gym. The safest and most stable standing posture is with your feet staggered - as in one slightly in front of the other - and your knees slightly bent. This position distributes your weight evenly, minimizes pressure on your joints and gives you the most stability. To see what we mean, stand with your feet even with each other and your knees locked and ask a friend to give you a slight shove. You'll see that you lose your balance easily. Now try the same exercise with your feet staggered and your knees bent. This position allows you to shift your weight as needed, making you more athletic and stable.
Unless they are doing an exercise that requires their feet to be aligned (like a squat) we always have our clients and patient do standing activities in the staggered position. But as we've discussed in the past good form doesn't end at the gym. Whether you are swinging open a heavy door or playing foosball with your friends, always remember to stagger your feet and bend your knees.