This week’s safety tips focuses on stretching safety. Stretching has many benefits and we can conduct these simple exercises whether we sit at our desks or work out in the field. Please take a moment to read below.
Why do we stretch?
Stretching is useful for both injury prevention and treatment.
Stretching increases flexibility which directly translates into reduced risk of injury.
Stretching allows a greater range of motion, making you less likely to experience an injury.
Stretching enhances your balance, coordination, and circulation.
Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Improved circulation can speed recovery after muscle injuries.
Flexible muscles can improve your daily performance on tasks such as lifting and bending.
Stretching promotes better posture. Frequent stretching keeps your muscles from getting tight, allowing you to maintain proper posture and minimize aches and pains.
Stretching can relieve stress. It relaxes the tense muscles that often accompany stress.
Stretching before work-related tasks focuses people on working safely.
Tips for stretching safely:
If you are being treated by a medical provider, follow their instructions.
Stretching is a key part of your exercise program.
Stretching before work or physical activity can prepare your body for exercise.
Stretching after work promotes a better range of motion for your joints.
When you’re stretching:
Stay within your comfort range. Expect to feel some tension while you’re stretching. If you feel pain, you’ve gone too far.
Move slowly and support your body.
Hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds.
Breathe freely as you hold each stretch; try not to hold your breath.
Some stretching essentials:
Target major muscle groups:
When you’re stretching, focus on your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders.
Stretch muscles and joints that you routinely use, at work or play.
Warm up first:
Stretching muscles when they’re cold increases your risk of injury, including pulled muscles.
Warm up by walking while gently pumping your arms, or do a favorite exercise at low intensity for five minutes.
Remember to stretch after you exercise, when your muscles are warm and more receptive to stretching.
How often to stretch:
As a general rule, stretch before and after a manual task or exercise, as well as after being in a static posture (e.g., driving).
Taking a few minutes to do a series of stretches can make your whole body feel better. Stretch spontaneously throughout the day whenever you feel tense.