The benefits of stretching are remarkable. Whether you work in an office or a physically demanding job, you should always take time to stretch and relax your body before or during your shift.
If you work in an office setting, it is recommended that you take frequent, short breaks to stretch.
If you work in the field, say, the construction industry, for example, you should take time before the shift to get a nice stretch in.
Some organizations may even have a warmup for work program that supports stretching prior to your workday. Which is a great way to prevent those sprain/strain injuries. If your organization does not have a stretching program, talk to your employer or supervisor about implementing one. It can be a fun way to get the day started while prioritizing your health!
Why should you stretch?
The number one cause of workers’ compensation claims is soft tissue damage (aka strains and sprains). Strains and sprains not only hurt the worker, but also the organization. It prevents the organization from keeping its employees safe, being profitable and competitive.
If anyone has experienced a back injury in their lifetime, they will tell you it may have been their first, but it certainly wasn’t their last. Once you’ve injured your back, expect repeated injuries in the future.
Benefits of Stretching:
- injury prevention and recovery
- Reduces stress in the muscles and the mind
- Better muscle control
- Improves posture
- Improves circulation
- Improves flexibility
- Improves range of motion for your joints
Safety tips for successful stretching:
- focus on major muscle groups: calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders
- having equal flexibility on both sides (one side that is more flexible than the other is a risk factor for injury)
- DON’T BOUNCE!
- Hold your stretch for 30-60 seconds for best results
- The goal is to feel tension, not pain. If it hurts, you’ve pushed too far
- Stay consistent: you can achieve the most benefits by stretching regularly (2-3x per week)
NOTE: If you currently have an injury or condition, stretching has the potential to cause adverse effects. Talk to a professional like your doctor or physical therapist on the best method to prevent further injury or illness.
At first, it may be difficult to start a regular program into your routine. We live busy lives, it’s easy to forget something new when we haven’t been practicing it.
But, once you get into that routine, the benefits are worth it. You will have less pain, have a clear mind, be more relaxed, and reduce your risk of injury!
I challenge you to set aside just 10 minutes of your day to stretch and relax.
I started a regular stretching routine over a year ago and I’ve experienced many benefits. I feel more relaxed and less tense, improved flexibility and range of motion (I noticed a huge difference in my workouts), lowered anxiety, and better sleep.
It’s a very small percentage of your day and a huge percentage of overall quality of life!
Have a great week!