Stretch to Reduce Tension

Staying fit and reducing stress keeps our bodies and minds flexible.

Implementation of a Stretch and Flex program can ready employees for the workday and help them distress at their desks.

Stretch and Flex Program

Every employee can benefit from a Stretch and Flex routine. Encouraging all employees – regardless of their job title – to participate daily at the same time establishes a routine. Ten minutes or less can make a big difference.

Employees must choose whether to participate depending on their own physical capabilities. No one wants workers to aggravate previous injuries or existing physical conditions.

Like all physical activity, employees should speak with their doctor(s) before starting an exer cise or stretching program.

First, introduce the program and its goals and discuss possible strains and sprains. Then when the shift begins, a volunteer should lead employees by using the examples below.

Stretch for between 5 and 10 minutes. Like yoga, never bounce or create quick movements while stretching. The goal is to stretch until you feel a mild tension.

 

Introduction

The stretches below, done correctly, can make the muscles pliable and long. When muscles shorten (from lack of stretch and exercise), using those muscles can increase risk of injury.

These stretches prepare the body for everyday work stresses. Engaging specific muscles normally associated with strains and sprains may actually reduce the incidences of muscle strain and sprains. Specifically, tightness of upper back, lower back, hamstrings and calves can increase risk of injury or pain to the spine.

Maintaining the muscle’s proper length and pliability allows the body to maintain the proper biomechanical position, and decreases the possibility for injury. Stretches should be performed slowly and deliberately.

Stretch, do not bounce, until mild tension is felt. Hold the stretch position 15 to 30 seconds. Then relax. Repeat stretches on the opposite side. You may choose to repeat the same stretch two or three times. All movements are gently but progressively increased. It is easier to stretch and strengthen a relaxed muscle versus a tight one. Stretch until you feel mild tension. Never take a stretch past the point of tension strain or pain.

 

 

 

Daily Stretch Routine

Hold for 15-30 seconds – Repeat each side

 

Neck Stretch

  • Tilt head sideways without twisting the neck.
  • Using your hand, reach across head and move ear toward shoulder.
  • Do not pull head, use weight of arm alone.
  • Extend other arm.

 Calf Stretch

  • Get into a lunge position bending the back knee.
  • Lift toes on your front leg and grasp them with your hand.

Chest Pull

  • Lace fingers together behind your back.
  • Roll shoulders backward while pulling hands a few inches behind your back.

Shoulder and Back of Upper Arm Stretch

  • Stand and place right hand on left shoulder.
  • With left hand, pull right elbow across chest toward left shoulder and hold.

 

Thigh Stretch (Quadriceps)

  • Lift one leg and grasp with your arm.
  • Pull up on leg at ankle to stretch thigh.
  • Maintain balance by extending your opposite arm sideways.

 Inner Thigh, Groin Stretches

  • Stand with feet pointed straight ahead, a little more than shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend right knee slightly and move left hip downward toward right knee.

Forearm and Wrist Stretch

  • Extend one arm forward keeping the elbow straight.
  • Bend the wrist upward, and use the other hand to gently pull fingers back toward you, stretching the muscles in the bottom of your forearm and wrist.
  • Then release and bend the same wrist downward, gently pulling it down and toward you.

Lower Back

  • Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Twist and lean forward to touch your toe with opposite hand.
  • Extend other arm up into the air behind you.

 

Only stretch to the point of mild tension. No quick or bouncy movements!

Tamera Shaw is a freelance writer for Insured Solutions based in Louisville, Kentucky. She writes fiction and enjoys amateur photography. She happily shares her life with husband Ron, daughter Cate and sage cat, Sophie, who grudgingly shares her home with the newest member of our family – Nieko, our new kitten.