Most of the WDW blogs and videos have a recommendation to wear a good pair of shoes because you’ll be walking 10+ miles/day. That much walking isn’t a problem for me. What killed me the last time we went was all the standing. And that got me to thinking: is it possible to train for standing so much? Are there exercises that would help? [Google was no help; I kept getting hits for exercises you can do while standing.]
I do not know of any, other than standing and gradually increasing how long you stand. At the MVMCP, I was fine with walking, but standing still for the stage show, the fireworks, and then the parade was physically painful. I hope others have some good suggestions.
Exercises Before You Go:
- Core Work. A strong core is going to support your lower back, hips, etc. as you stand. I would focus on planks, side planks, dead bugs, and supermans.
- Practice good posture. Shoulder rolls, chin tucks, and wall angles.
- Leg work. The stronger your legs are, the less fatigued you will be from a long day of standing. Squats, lunges, and calf lifts (start with bodyweight and add dumbbells as you go). I would also add speed walking, running, cycling, or some other leg intensive exercise.
Relieve Soreness During the Trip:
- Take anti-inflammatories around the clock. I’d take 6 Aleve per day if your stomach can handle it. If you feel sore, it literally means your tissue is inflamed.
- Soak in a hot bath every night. If you still feel pretty tender after, alternate it with cold therapy (10 minute sessions of ice packs wrapped in a towel).
- Massage your calves and feet every night. Try using a foam roller, tennis ball, or…a vibrating back massager. Yeah.
- Drink lots of water. It will help your muscles recover (they need glycogen, which is two parts water to one part sugar–I assume you’re getting plenty of sugar already!).
- Take collagen supplements to help your muscles recover. Other supplements that have been proven to shorten muscle recovery time include turmeric and fish oil. I would start taking these at least a month before your trip to build them up in your system.
Source: I have a degenerative joint condition, so I already do these things everyday.
That above is excellent advice. If standing for long hurts your back, it often relates to core strength, tensions and posture which can be improved exactly like mentioned above.
Another thing: if you work in front of the computer much, try doing that standing up when possible. After getting a standing desk I got rid of a lot of back problems and it also made standing up for longer easier.
This one I’ve learned is extremely helpful to take BEFORE you have pain. If you take ibuprofen (or Aleve or whatever) before you head out for each day, it helps to prevent the inflammation that causes pain later in the day. However, I’ve found that if I take it AFTER the fact, it isn’t nearly as effective.
Tip to avoid standing and waiting: A good touring plan
So this is a true story and probably not helpful…but I think the person this is about had the same idea.
I was standing in the line to get into Animal Kingdom. It was about an hour before the park opened but we wanted to get to FoP without having to wait a long time. The guy in the line next to me reached into his backpack and pulled out…a rubber mat. It looked like a kitchen mat you put in front of your sink in the kitchen. I guess I was staring at him because he smiled and explained how the ground is so hard and it hurts his feet when he has to stand in one spot. He used to work as a cashier and he said they gave them mats to stand on. So…he brought a backpack and folded a mat up. He explained that when he was stuck in dead lines he just changed the surface. To this day I am still not sure what to make of this! On one hand it sounds like a pain to have to fold it up and carry it in a backpack all day. On the other, I can see how it would make your standing endurance so much more manageable.
Again, probably not helpful…but this is the only post I have ever seen that makes this story even remotely relevant! I seized the moment!
I have very tight calves and foam rolling helps a ton. The gym at CSR even had a foam roller for me to use every morning!
Other than that, practice being on your feet. I’ve had jobs where I stand for 8 hours a day and it takes awhile to get used to.
I’ve actually thought about bringing a folding travel chair like this!
TravelChair Slacker Chair, Super Compact, Folding Tripod Camping Stool https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0019N0VQA/
I have severe arthritis and joint degeneration, so I think it would help. But I’m afraid of people judging me for it.
You might have to check if it’s allowed. WDW might not allow that sort of thing. However, my mom has a walker she pretty much just uses in WDW. (Well, now she’s starting to use it in malls, too) You might invest in one of those. It’s not that you need the stability, but the ability to sit. Also, hanging on and pushing something does take weight off you, without realizing it. Think of the difference of shopping with or without a cart in a store.
Another idea for those who hate standing would be a cane, because you can lean on it. Not ideal, but usable. Or something like this:
The standing gets me almost more than the miles per day. I’ve found that more cushiony soled shoes helps.
Using a cane is amazing. Not as good as pushing a stroller but those pesky kids have a way of growing too tall.
I’ve noticed that the cane often gets me a pass at the metal detector.
Unfortunately, I’ve destroyed the cartilage in my knee. I’m already on a prescription anti-inflammatory and I’m forbidden to do squats and lunges. I’m sure there are other exercises to work the same muscles, though.
Unfortunately, that only really helps with stand-by queues. You still wait for a table (even with an ADP we waited 20 mins), waiting for transportation, waiting in FP lines, waiting for the elevator, waiting to buy things in shops, waiting for mobile orders to be filled, etc. Oddly enough, I don’t recall ever having to wait in the restroom.
Yeah, we talked about getting the canes with seats, but wondered if they would be allowed. I know you can’t bring in folding chairs.
This is my biggest issue (and DS as well) because of a neurological disorder. The only thing that I have found that even mildly helps is leaning on walls where I can. I still leave the park in a lot of pain (and it’s absolutely all due to the standing!) but leaning helps me last a little longer. I’m stubborn so I won’t do a wheelchair or scooter yet! The time will come, but I’m holding out as long as possible.
Rolling is the real deal in helping muscles recover. Foam rollers can be difficult to maneuver and balance yourself. Also they would be bulky for traveling. Also look into a rolling stick. I have the full size and “travel” version of this:
I’ve had these sticks for years, long before foam rollers came about. I also have foam rollers, ball bearing like rollers, balls, spiky balls - the whole lot.
The sticks can be easier to use than the foam rollers and obviously easier to put in a suitcase. I’ve had mine so long,that you could only really buy them at running stores back then. There are also a million versions on Amazon in addition to sports and specialty running stores.
Something smaller - like ball or foot roller - would be good also to use on your feet. Feet and ankles is where you will really feel standing pain (in addition to lower back). I don’t find the stick as effective on feet just based on its construction.
I’m an Advil devotee. I had a year that I couldn’t take Advil (blood thinners), and I hated it. Of course, check with your doctor, as all these types of drugs can have bad side effects for certain people.
This is stupid, crazy and also genius. I have one of those high end gel kitchen mats, and it’s the greatest. Hours in the kitchen standing and cooking kill me. Those mats are awesome. people may look at you like you’re crazy, and then quickly wish they had the same idea. However, those mats will not be light to carry around.
You might want to consider compression socks; but wearing knee high socks all day in park may not be all that fun. Don’t wear the compression calf sleeves except under very specific circumstances, otherwise they can be dangerous.
You might also experiment with compression running socks. They aren’t true compression (as you need going over the calf for that); but they can make your feet feel better and for longer.
I’m fairly sure they don’t allow those cane/chair contraptions. I was looking into it for my parents when we went Dec '18.
I’m on that low dose aspirin. When I broke my arm, I was given the choice of some pain killer (don’t remember) or ibuprofen in the ER.
Pain killers don’t seem effective so I went with the ibuprofen. Next day with the ortho guy he wanted to stay away from ibuprofen as not being good for bone density. When I suggested aspirin he brightened up considerably.
I’ve noticed a full strength aspirin mid-afternoon helps with arthritis joint pain and tired foot pain while WDW touring.
My other go to is energy chews. I’ve tried several and like Sport Beans the best. Usually I’ll try that before the aspirin. Three small beans are often enough to give more energy and take away the pain.
@Klothos, you must have a stomach made of steel! That would do my stomach in.
I take 8 per day without any real problems, but I’m probably just used to it. Definitely don’t recommend it without a doctor’s guidance, though. The inflammation has caused a bacterial infection at the bonesite, so it’s one of the only things I can do to help.