Ontivity Resources

Stretch and Flex

New Braunfels, TX, February 1, 2023

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Soft tissue damage to a worker’s body is the number one cause of worker compensation claims.  It hurts not only the worker but also hurts the company in its ability to keep its workforce safe, be competitive, and be profitable. The very physical work we do in construction is an athletic event! The importance of being warmed up prior to starting construction work is just like getting ready for a sporting event or that daily workout many of us have as our New Year resolution. Stretching is a means to avoid the most common body sprain/strain injuries. According to safety experts, over half of all workers’ compensation claims and costs were due to sprains/strains. We are no strangers to sprain/strain injuries. As part of our focus on safety we are committed to reducing sprain/strain injuries and highly encourage everyone to do some regiment of stretching before grabbing that shovel or jumping on that monopole.  No two bodies are the same so you need to determine the best stretches for you. With that in mind we would like to cover 3 key points for properly warming up before work.

  1. Conduct stretch and flex exercises before you start working
  2. Make sure to warm up before you stretch
  3. Don’t create an injury by stretching
  • Conduct stretch and flex exercises before you start working

Getting ready for the job means more than lining up tools and material.  A short stretch and flex session before working can help in many ways.  We have all been in a situation where we had to twist our body into an awkward position. Stretching helps improve your flexibility and range of motion in your joints to help you in these situations.  Stretching also improves the blood flow to your muscles and leads to improved circulation over your whole body. A short stretching session can help reduce stress by relaxing your muscles and can help clear your mind.  A clear mind decreases the chances of all workplace incidents, not just sprains and strains. Lastly, when workers conduct a pre and post stretch and flex session, they experience shortened recovery time after a hard day’s work.

  • Make sure to warm up before you stretch

Before you jump into your stretches you should get your blood flowing by doing a couple of warm-ups like marching in place, doing arm circles or some other light activity.  Go into stretching with a relaxed and open mind. Remember, stretching and flexing helps you stay healthy and lowers the chances of you getting hurt.  Keep in mind the elements when determining which exercises to do and for how long.  In cold temps, you might want to warm-up a little longer before you start stretching.  In colder temps our body keeps most of our blood flow away from our extremities so we need to get that blood flowing before stretching.  In warmer temps our body is already half-warmed up and our muscles are loose so the warm-ups can be shorter.  In either condition, hydration is key to lowering the chances for sprains and strain incidents. Make sure to take short breaks between stretches as it will aide in a better session. Remember that blood flow thing we talked about? This short pause between sessions helps with that.

  • Don’t create an injury when stretching

While stretching has proven to lower sprain and strain injuries, if not done properly it can actually cause injuries.  Everyone’s body is different and some of us might not need as much stretching as others.  When doing your stretches, stretch to the point where it is comfortable. Avoid straining when you stretch.  Straining keeps the muscle from relaxing.  As the feeling of the stretch changes to a mild stretch, stretch a little further until you feel a comfortable stretch with no pain.  Reputations of 7-10 seconds are recommended to get a good stretch.  Again, you know your body better than anyone.  Avoid bouncing while you stretch as this leads to injuries.  During your stretches, breathe with a slow, normal rhythm. Do not hold your breath.

When it comes to a stretch and flex session, you should always consider what the optimal and safest option is for you.  As mentioned, if you don’t take a serious approach to the exercises you could actually hurt yourself.  We all know that keeping our equipment and tools in good condition and operating smoothly is critical to doing good work. Your body is by far your most important piece of equipment and without it, nothing is getting done. Now the thought of doing a few stretching exercises may seem silly to some of you but the benefits of a short stretching session are not silly at all. 

If you want more information on those topics, reach out to the Ontivity safety team at safety@ontivity.com, and we will get you taken care of. 

1820 Watson Lane East, New Braunfels, Texas 78130, United States

(830) 302-2330

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