Some jobs require more physical labor than others. Repeated physical strain and motion can result in soreness, sprains, and strains if not counteracted with adequate stretching and rest. In fact, a major cause of the common injuries in metal fabrication facilities is performing strenuous physical tasks. Review the best stretches for manual workers and relay them to your employees, or partake yourself to reduce bodily injuries in your workplace.
Why Is It Important To Stretch Before Work?
You’ve probably been encouraged before exercising before, but the same goes for manual work. You should always get in a 5 to 20-minute stretch before starting out your physical tasks at work to prevent straining or even tearing your muscles.
When you stretch, you loosen up your body and prepare your muscles for the activity they’re about to perform. Their resistance to injury is heightened after a stretch, decreasing the potential of hurting yourself while on the job.
Different Stretches To Get Your Body Ready To Work
Here are a few of the best stretches for manual workers that are sure to reduce your risk of soreness or strains from work.
To Stretch Your Back
With all the bending, lifting, and carrying, it’s common for manual workers to experience back problems.
Feet shoulder-width apart, lean forward onto a wall or other flat, stationary surface. Tilt your head up and curve backward. This stretches your mid-to-lower back and abdomen.
To Stretch Your Quads
If you’re properly lifting with your legs, you’ll notice the soreness in your quadriceps, or front thigh muscles.
Using a wall or person for support, bring one heel toward your glutes. Grab your foot or ankle with the same side hand and pull upward – you should feel a stretch from your knee to your hip.
To Stretch Your Hamstrings
Even out your leg stretches with a hamstring stretch.
Place one heel forward on a sturdy surface with both knees slightly bent. Lean forward slowly, until you feel the stretch in the back of your thigh. Keep your back straight and repeat with other leg after about 20 seconds.
To Stretch Your Torso
Your body’s trunk endures a lot of the pressure that you experience at work. To alleviate some tension in your torso, engage in the following stretch.
With your feet shoulder-width apart, reach up. Grab your right wrist with your left hand and lean left, slightly pulling upward on your arm to feel the lengthening of your trunk. Repeat on other side.
How Often Should You Stretch?
You should try to get in a comprehensive set of stretches in at least once every hour. Ideally, you’d be stretching every 15 minutes or so.
Remember to always stretch both sides of your body before getting back to work, and not just a side that’s sore. This will prevent an imbalance and risk of injury for your entire body. Do not deepen your stretches past the point of discomfort, as overstretching may just as well cause injury.