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Stretching Pros and Cons Toolbox Talk

Use this toolbox talk to brief your crews on the importance of stretching and preventing injuries due to strenuous activities.

Stretching Pros and Cons Safety Talk

Stretching is an important task for avoiding injuries. It is so easy to strain, sprain, or tear a muscle in your body when your body is not conditioned properly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 420,870 cases of muscle-related injuries in 2014. When people endure these types of injuries, it requires them to be off of work. Employees needing to miss work can make a construction project run beyond timelines.

Ways To Avoid Strains and Sprains

There are some safe work habits that you can use to avoid being injured. Lifting heavy items is one way to strain a muscle in your body. If you use the buddy system when lifting heavy objects, you can reduce the strain that you are putting on your body.

Engineering controls need to be utilized to work as effectively and safely as you can. If your job involves manually lift heavy items, try implementing stretching routines beforehand. When your muscles are warmed up prior, you are less likely to sustain an injury.

Benefits of Stretching Before Strenuous Activity

You have always heard of stretching before a workout. But, do you stretch before work? The Mayo Clinic says there are benefits to stretching before beginning strenuous activities. If your job includes bending, straining and lifting some basic stretches before your day begins may help.

A few of the benefits that you can see:

  • Improve your flexibility

  • Improves your posture

  • Improve your range of motion for joints

  • Decreases back pain

  • Increase muscle functioning

  • Reduce the chances of injuries due to job tasks

The Benefit Debate

There is debating information on the true benefits of stretching before work. Some experts say it is a great idea, while others don’t see the true benefit of reduced injuries at work. It is more of a personal decision on whether it benefits you or not.

If you choose to stretch before you begin your workday, it is definitely not going to cause any harm. There are just mixed reviews on whether it is going to help reduce work-related injuries. Whether you choose to stretch or not, you still need to take safety precautions to avoid getting hurt.

man injured on construction site.

How To Safely Stretch

If you make the decision to stretch before work, you still need to do so safely. There are many instances of people pulling muscles during their stretching exercises. Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, an Orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, does not advise you to put too much strain on cold muscles.

You should begin with some aerobic exercises to get everything awake before you stretch. When you stretch, you should feel good. You should not experience pain. When stretching is painful, you are pushing your body too hard. Let off a little bit and work your way up.

Advice From The National Academy Of Sports Medicine

The proper way to stretch is to work your way into it. Your body becomes more flexible as you condition it. When you are stretching in the beginning, lean in until you feel the tension. That is the point that you want to stop so you do not injure yourself. Hold that position for about 30 seconds and release.

If you injure yourself in the beginning, it is going to make it hard to continue. You are going to benefit the most if you take things slowly. If you are stretching for the prevention of an injury or to protect a previous injury, seek out your medical doctor’s advice. They can help to instruct you on the proper ways to perform these stretches.

You Can Get Hurt Stretching

When you are stretching, it is important to be aware of your limitations. You can stretch too much or too forcefully and injure yourself. There is sometimes a certain order in which stretching should happen. Especially, when you are performing different tasks.

Stretches That You Can Try

Work environments sometimes require strenuous activity that can lead to injuries. You can help to avoid these injuries with some stretches. It is your own personal decision if you feel they are beneficial to you. Some people will see results from stretching depending on how their body responds. Some beneficial stretches to try are:

  • Place your hands on your hips and twist at the hips right and left.

  • Stand tall and stretch arms above your head, hold for 15-30 seconds, and release.

  • Bend and touch your toes, hold each bend for a few seconds.

  • Shrug your shoulders up and down while inhaling and exhaling slowly.

  • Place hands on your hips and tilt side to side.

  • Relax your shoulders and roll them up and down.

All these stretches can be repeated a few times to get your body ready for your workday. It is important to listen to your body and not push it too far. You wouldn’t want to injure your body from trying to prevent an injury at work.

Take Breaks Accordingly

When you are lifting heavy items or performing strenuous activity, proper breaks are needed. If you perform tasks when you are getting overly tired or worn out, you are more likely to injure yourself. It can help if you take a 15-30 minute break to give your body a break.

You can take that time to sit down for a minute. This is also a good time to perform a few stretches if you feel they help you. The same ones you used to start your day can be repeated as needed throughout the day.

Safety Always Comes First

You should always consider what the safest option is for you while working. If you feel that stretching before you begin is the right choice for you, then you should do it. It is important that everyone works in the safest manner that they can.

You should always try to avoid injuries as much as possible. There are many pros and cons to the practice of stretching. It is more of a decision that you have to make for the health and wellbeing of your body.

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