The trend and health benefits of stand-up desks aside, putting your feet up is good for you. After a long day, have you ever been so tired that your inner voice said, “I’ve just got to put my feet up!”? That’s your body being wise.
This point was driven home to me recently when my 93-year-old dad, who isn’t nearly as active as he used to be, remarked that his lower legs were swelling. I suggested he try putting his legs up when sitting on a chair or sofa. It worked! Within 48 hours, his legs were completely back to normal.
Vein specialists confirm that elevating your legs is beneficial for those of us who spend hours a day sitting—or even standing—at a computer.
I’m also a big believer in cat naps, but if you’re too busy for a nap, taking just five minutes to put your feet up can be wonderfully restorative.
Ideally, you should lie in a position on your sofa or bed that elevates your legs above your head and heart. A stack of pillows or cushions can provide the necessary height and support under your feet. Experts stress not to elevate your legs on a table or desk without a cushion, as the edges and corners of the hard surface can cause leg pain, bruising and nerve damage to the area — tsk tsk to the couple shown here! It’s also counterproductive, as the excessive pressure hinders circulation to the area. Obviously, if you’ve experienced or are prone to back or neck injury, you also should be careful about your position and make any needed adjustments.
I love to put my feet up on the sofa or stretch out in an upholstered chair with an ottoman that overlooks my yard. And here’s something you may not have considered: If your upholstered furniture is more than eight to 10 years old, the foam inside is probably not CertiPUR-US®-certified—the foam certification program wasn’t established until 2008. Certified foams meet rigorous program standards for content, emissions and durability and are analyzed by independent, accredited testing laboratories. Participating companies are listed in the online consumer directory.