Benefits of Stretching at Work

I recently worked with fellow team members developing and presenting a stretching webinar. We needed to get the word out on the benefits of stretching at work and in our personal lives. Stretching is good for all walks of life including restaurant, hotel, factory, and construction workers. I decided to “practice what I preach” and made a conscious effort to stretch throughout the day. It helped make snow shoveling more tolerable this winter. And it even improved my sleep. I stretch before going to sleep every night and find myself more relaxed and sleeping better. Try it for yourself; you’ll be surprised at the results!

What is a Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD)

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders are a group of painful disorders of muscles, tendons, and nerves. These injuries are preventable with a work-readiness program that includes stretching.

Heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, or repetitive motion can cost employers billions of dollars on an annual basis.  Injuries resulting from these motions are common and costly. To reduce the risk and promote a healthy, safe work environment, make sure your employees are physically ready for work. Developing and implementing a stretching program for your business can reduce employee injuries and save money.

Common Musculoskeletal Disorders

  1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome impacts the hand due to pressure on the median nerve which controls movement and feeling in the thumb and fingers.
  2. Tendinitis. When the thick fibrous cords that attach muscle to bone are inflamed or irritated, tendinitis can occur.
  3. Muscle Strain. This common type of MSD happens when the muscle is overstretched or torn.

  4. Ligament Sprain. A ligament sprain involves the overstretching or tearing of the ligaments, which are the fibrous connective tissues that connect bones to each other for stabilization.

The Benefits of Stretching at Work

  1. Reduces Fatigue.  Stretching at work can reduce fatigue by increasing blood supply and nutrients to your muscles. 
  2. Can Prevent Muscle Strain Injuries.  Stretching is waking up your muscles to let them know that they will be performing a job.  Stretching warms up the muscles by working them gently – just like an athlete.  Athletes always stretch out before practices and games to warm up their muscles. Why do they do that? So they perform better.
  3. Improves Posture.  Stretching can improve posture by allowing muscle tissues to realign, thus reducing effort to achieve and maintain good posture. Often these muscles have adapted poorly to effects of gravity and poor postural habits.
  4. Increases Muscle Coordination and Balance.  Stretching also helps opposing muscle groups work in a more coordinated fashion.

Recommended Stretches While at Work

Part of our webinar included developing and producing a training video on beneficial stretches for the average person. Based on workers compensation claims, we know that injuries most commonly affect the shoulders, back, wrists and knees. We consulted with a registered nurse and a certified physical trainer to determine the stretches that work best to reduce injuries to these areas. Use this short 5-minute stretching video for educating your employees – and make it part of your new employee safety orientation training.  We also have a free stretching poster to remind employees of these stretches on a regular basis.

Stretching works. Try it – you’ll like it. The benefits of stretching at work are endless.

Watch Our Stretching Tutorial

When it comes to risk management, prevention is the key. Society Insurance policyholders gain the collaborative and consultative partnership of risk control experts and access to exclusive safety resources developed to keep your workplace safe and profitable. Contact your local Society agent to learn more.  

Author

Paul is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater with a degree in Occupational Safety. He is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) with over 33 years of experience in the safety field.

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