Election Day at the polls: Tips to avoid muscle aches, pains

Election Day brings with it visions of long lines full of voters, wrapped around the corner, waiting for the chance to cast their ballot. This year, election officials have warned that those lines might be a little longer, due in part to the expected increase in voter turnout, social distancing protocols, and other precautionary coronavirus measures.

So what should you do if you find yourself at the end of an hourslong line?

For starters, a sports chiropractor says one of the most important things you can do before heading out the door on Tuesday is select the right footwear.

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“Don’t go with anything brand new or not broken in,” Dr. Josh Glass, a sports chiropractor with Georgia Sports Chiropractic, told Fox News. “Go for comfort. You want an athletic shoe that you are familiar with, with more cushion and support… that’s what you need if you’re standing for a long time.”

Glass warned against choosing footwear that’s too tight, which may cause blisters.

Comfortable shoes, stretching and staying hydrated can help you avoid aches and pains while standing in line.
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He also advised taking note of your posture and stretching the muscles that are going to be worked while standing — namely the calf muscles, hamstrings, hip flexors and chest muscles. All of these muscles can be stretched while standing in place, he said, to help relieve any aches or pains that crop up on the day of.

“Any muscle you feel tightness or cramping in, you want to stretch,” he said. “You want to feel the tension in the stretch but you don’t want it to hurt.”

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If the pain persists after you’ve cast your vote, Glass advises to stretch more at home, ice the problem area, and use a pain relief gel or aid such as KT Tape to help soothe the muscle.

Nutrition and hydration also play a key role in how your day may go, Glass said, adding that you should approach it as if you are gearing up for an athletic event.

“Fuel correctly with the food you eat and stay hydrated so the muscles are ready for an extended period of use,” he said, adding that you should plan to bring water and a snack if you expect to be waiting for a while.

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And if your body’s aches and pains from voting serve as a wake-up call for you to get back into the gym, Glass suggests you start slow.

“Start with baby steps,” he said. “All that matters is being consistent — it’s not doing the toughest or the hardest workout; it’s a little bit day after day.”