Stretch to Avoid Injury
 Feb. 28, 2012

No one wants to get hurt on the job. Employers often spend a considerable amount of time and resources developing loss prevention programs and safety plans, but oftentimes employees can control their own destiny with respect to avoidinginjuriesonthejob. Beforestartingwork,employeesofteninspectand prepare tools and machinery to ensure it is work ready. How about making sure they are work ready by starting the day with a stretching routine. Here is a sample routing you might consider for your employees:

Warming up and stretching 10—15 minutes before starting a shift can help avoid injury and might include:

    Exercises tailored to commonly performed job duties Performing stretches correctly:
      use static or isometric stretches
      hold stretch 10-30 seconds
      3-4 repetitions per muscle group
      stretch bilaterally, emphasize tight muscles
    Intensity should be to a position of mild discomfort only Stretch again at appropriate work times throughout the day after a break or lunch
Even though this is just a stretching regimen, it is recommended that employees have their doctor’s approval before participating in these exercises:

  • No Hands Rise: Stand up and sit down several times without using the hands. This helps develop core and back strength.

  • Shoulder Shrugs: This exercise can help release tension in muscles in the neck and shoulders. Inhale deeply and shrug your shoulders, lifting them toward your ears. Release the stretch and repeat several times. Slowly shaking the head, as if saying no, provides another good stretch.

  • Air Circles: An oldie but a goody, stretch arms out in front and clench both fists. Make small air circles —10 in one direction, then 10 in the opposite direction.

  • Posture Pose: This move will stretch the muscles in your back, sides, and arms. From a seated or standing position lace the fingers together and stretch them toward the ceiling. Breathe deeply as you stretch as high as you can. Then exhale, open the arms, and sweep them down. Repeat 8 to 10 times. This is great for the shoulders.

  • Point and Stretch: Pointing the fingers is good for the hands, wrists, and forearms. Stretch one hand out in front and point the fingers to the floor. Use the opposite hand to gently increase the stretch by pushing the fingers toward the body. Switch hands. You will be surprised at how this can loosen the wrist and forearm muscles and ligaments.

  • Torso Twist: Stand behind a sturdy chair and grab the back of it with one hand. Then grab the arm of the chair with the opposite hand. Gently twist your torso toward the back of the room. Hold the twist, come back to neutral, and repeat on the other side.

  • Big Hug: Hug yourself, placing your right hand over your left shoulder and the left hand on the right shoulder. Breathe in and out, releasing the often-tight area between the shoulder blades.

  • Leg Hug: Sit on the edge of a non-rolling chair with feet together and flat on the floor. Lean over with chest to knees and let the arms dangle loosely to the floor. Bring your hands behind your legs with the right hand grasping the left wrist, forearm, or elbow, as the left hand grasps the right. This will stretch the back, shoulders, and neck.

  • Simple stretches can help get your employees work ready. Consider medically approved stretching as part of your company's daily routine to avoid injury.

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