Stretching? Are you Pulling My Leg?

Warm up and stretching routines better prepare the muscles and tissues of our body to tackle the physical demands that our tasks require of us. The warm up portion is designed to increase circulation to the major muscle groups of the body. This is especially important in material handling jobs where the muscle tissues are taxed or when working in colder conditions where muscle tissues are constricted and tight. Good warm up moves include marching, shoulder rotations, half squats, or slow and controlled boxing moves. These types of warm up activities will prepare the muscles and joints of the body for efficient and safe movement patterns. Stretching is best incorporated after blood flow is increased to the tissues. Think of your muscles like a rubber band. If you warm them up first, they’ll stretch easier and further.

Stretching is a controlled movement and abrupt movements like bouncing are not recommended. When stretching a muscle you want to hold the muscles in an elongated position for a few seconds and then slowly relax the muscle returning it to the original starting position. Only mild tension should be felt. If you're experiencing pain, STOP! You’re pushing too far. Stretching is not supposed to be painful. Job tasks and work environments are variable. As a result warm up actions and stretching activities can be incorporated throughout the course of the day rather than just at the beginning of the shift. We refer to these momentary breaks in work as “microbreaks”. For example, if you have to assume a stooped posture for an extended period of time, stretching in the opposite direction by performing a back extension will assist with counterbalancing the effects of the sustained stooped posture. Reaching in front all day (yes, you at the computer)? Clasp the hands behind the back and squeeze the shoulders together. Really, it’s that simple!

Contact us to schedule a stretching workshop for your organization or to purchase any of our handy stretching posters for your facility. 

SIX Safety Systems delivers fit-for-duty solutions that mitigate the risks associated with drugs, alcohol, and fatigue in the workplace. 



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