Just what the doctor ordered: Nine minutes a day is all you need to prepare your body for repetitive motions with purposeful stretches.
BY: Amanda Hill, CPT, CES, and FMS
Stretches are mistakenly regarded as unimportant and may be dismissed if a crew is in a rush to work on a project. This is especially true if employees’ generic stretching program doesn’t seem useful for preparing them for the day. However, a three-minute stretching routine in the morning, afternoon, and evening (total of nine minutes in the day) is beneficial in a number of ways, including improved mobility, better job performance, and reduced risk of injury. This is especially true when the stretches are tailored to the day’s activities.
That’s why Bio Health Care works directly with clients to build quick yet beneficial daily craft-specific stretching programs and resources for individual employees. We also take the time to educate on each stretch’s benefits and how to build a personalized stretching routine.
Educating individuals on quick craft-specific stretching programs builds autonomy and personal accountability while properly preparing employees for their job demands.
7 Steps to Encourage Employee Participation
First, educate employees on the benefits of stretching.
Here are seven benefits employees will get out of daily stretching:
Stretching can minimize the fatigue and soreness usually felt upon waking and at the end of a shift.
Stretching builds healthier muscles by increases blood supply and nutrients to joint structures and soft tissues.
Stretching warms up the body allowing for greater tissue flexibility for those overextended motions.
Stretching increases our bodies’ joint lubrication (think of this as our body’s WD-40), allowing for improved range of motion and reducing joint wear and tear when doing repetitive tasks.
Stretching prevents nightly cramping caused by overuse of the muscles.
Stretching improves balance and posture, which reduces discomfort in our neck, back, and hip discomforts and prevents trips and falls on the job site.
Stretching helps to lengthen shortened muscles to allow for better activation during tasks which reduces the risk of strains and sprains.
Teach Employees How and When to Stretch
We encourage two forms of stretching: dynamic and static. Dynamic stretching warms up the body and static stretches help stretch tight muscle groups and aide in the recovery process.
Employees can use the same stretches for both but perform them slightly different.
Pre-shift: Perform each stretch using shorter hold times (3-6 seconds) and more repetition (2-3 per side). This should take no more than 3-5 minutes before a shift.
Lunch: This can be a combination of dynamic and static stretches, depending on if tension is felt (static) in muscle groups or if the afternoon will have a high demand for repetitive motion (dynamic) in the afternoon. Set aside three minutes at the end of lunch to prepare for the rest of the day.
Evening: Add a few static stretches for tight muscles to increase recovery and reduce tension. Stretching before bed can change the way one feels in the morning. We recommend a three-minute back and hip stretching routine before bedtime.
For additional information on body mechanics and stretching protocols, contact us to learn more about Bio Health Care's injury prevention program. Just because you work hard does not mean you have to live with discomfort.