Welcome to the first of many short informative blog articles to be presented by the experienced consultants within NN Occupational Health.
Whilst many employees and employers know that stretching is beneficial they may not understand why. The body is made up of hundreds of bones, muscles and tendons, all working in unison to contract and extend to allow movements and postures that assist us to work. As we age, sustain injury or overload specific muscle groups, these muscles can tighten and reduce the overall range of motion, minimising joint movement and function.
Stretching can be utilised for management, injury prevention or therapeutic recovery. From an occupational perspective incorporating a regular stretching program for staff has multiple benefits, including:
- Increased flexibility and range of motion.
- Reduced muscle tension and fatigue.
- Improved coordination.
- Increased circulation and supply of nutrients to the muscles.
- Reduced risk of injury.
Many employers and managers might list a loss of productivity as a concern when therapists recommend a stretching program during work hours. However any stretching program does not need to involve a large commitment of time to achieve results. This could simply be incorporated simply before work and after rest breaks or as strictly as five minutes every hour. The program simply needs to be tailored to the key areas of concern, fatigue or risk of injury. Again, this can be identified by the therapist on site and developed into a suitable program.
Stretching programs should always be specific to the postures of concern. Nonetheless stretching is a natural response by the body to tightness. You may notice this if you sit in a chair for a long period of time, it actually feels better to change your posture and stretch. Therefore stretching may be recommended, especially during injury recovery, as noted above to increase movement and increase blood supply, vital for healing.
For any further information, please don’t hesitate to discuss this with any of our consultants. We are always developing specific programs to assist recovery or injury prevention.
- Place your left hand on the right shoulder blade.
- Using the left hand pull gently downward on the left elbow.
- Avoid placing pressure on the back of the head and neck.
- Hold for 10 secs and repeat with other arm.
- Repeat 3 times.