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Survival Tips for Standing in Line This Holiday Season

The holiday season is here and with it comes lots of reasons for good cheer…but it can also bring added demands and stress for our bodies. Whether you're shopping for presents, waiting to pick up the perfect dessert or checking out a holiday performance, chances are you'll spend a good deal of time standing in line this season.  The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) offers the following tips to help you avoid muscle cramps, neck stiffness and back pain while waiting in line.  First, dress the part. If you're planning to spend the day shopping or strolling around town checking out the holiday displays, wear comfortable, supportive shoes—not high heels. It's also a good idea to dress in layers so that you will be comfortable going from outdoors to indoors, and vise-versa. And leave huge shoulder bags at home; bring only those items that are necessary for your day—wallet, keys, cell phone—and consider carrying a fanny pack or a backpack rather than a one-shoulder purse.  Once you're actually in line, there are several stretches that you can do to keep your legs from cramping and your back from aching. Start with your toes and work your way up:

  • Spread your toes out as wide as you can and hold for a few seconds and then bring them back to neutral.
  • Stand on one foot while you rotate the opposite ankle and then switch legs.
  • To stretch your calves, lean forward on your toes keeping your legs straight.
  • Bend your knees a little bit, just 5 to 10 degrees, and then straighten them.     
  • Tighten the muscles in your thighs and bottom and hold for 5 seconds and then release.
  • Tuck your butt underneath while sticking your bellybutton out then switch and stick your butt out. This pelvic tilt can be a very small movement, but it is great for taking the pressure off your lower back.    
  • Roll your shoulders backwards several times and then push your shoulder blades together to stretch out your chest.    
  • Open your hands as wide as you can and then gently close them.    
  • In addition to stretching, shift your weight and alter your stance every 3 to 5 minutes to give your body a postural break.

Author: American Chiropractic Association
Source: American Chiropractic Association. November 03, 2010.