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We All Benefit From a Good Stretch

- November 16, 2018 by Guest Bloggers (View all posts by Guest)

Have you ever noticed that just before babies go to sleep they often stretch?  They do a full body—hands reaching as far as they can, toes pointed—all out stretch.  Where did they learn that?  Or have you noticed that when animals get up they often stretch?  They sometimes look like they have been doing yoga for years.  Where did they learn that?  The fact is that babies and animals innately do what is needed to protect their bodies, while we as adults have excuses as to why we don’t take care of ourselves like, “I’m too busy,” or “That will take too long.”

Professional athletes do not just walk onto the field, play their best game ever and go home.  They have a whole warm up routine that includes stretching and movements that get the blood flowing.  They want to ensure that their bodies are prepared for what they are about to do.

So then, why do we not see employees stretching?  Why is it not a part of the daily routine?   Why should the preparation process for the work in a manufacturing plant or on a construction site be any different from that of an athlete?

Many people move incorrectly because they have tight muscles or deconditioned muscles.  Yet, flexibility and strength are crucial to most work tasks.

Employees in jobs that are prone to muscle strains and repetitive motions should prepare for the tasks they will be doing.  They would benefit from stretching and warming up just as an athlete would.

Common work related injuries are soft tissue damage such as sprains and strains.  Often these can be prevented.  One way to address the possibility of an injury is by preparing the muscles for daily activity.  This gives the body a chance to warm up and get the blood flowing.

A basic warm up or pre-work stretch takes no more than 5-10 minutes.  To get the motivated, encourage employees to set simple goals such as:

  • I will be able to touch my toes in two months.
  • I will be able to bend over and tie my shoes.
  • I will be able to balance on one leg.

It does take time, but it is time invested, not wasted.

 

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