This blog was written by Mechelle Meadows. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.
Corporate fitness professionals as well as other health and safety organizations in the workplace stress the importance of preventing injuries, not just curing them. The recent strategy discussed among many worksites today is to engage employees in stretching and proper ergonomics training before an injury occurs.
The study referred to in this article found that stretching alone was not as beneficial as incorporating ergonomic training as well. Teaching employees safe ways to sit, stand, and lift while at work, especially when doing repetitive motions, is the key to keeping proper musculoskeletal alignment and preventing overuse injuries. Stretching, then, plays a role in maintaining flexibility and releasing tension from muscles that have been held in a contracted state for long periods of time.
Most of our corporate wellness programming includes flexibility training, for example, in the form of a yoga class or a stretching session at the end of a group fitness class. But while we can provide programs like these, employees still spend the overwhelming majority of their workdays performing their actual job functions, whether sitting at a desk, standing at a manufacturing line, or performing manual labor. So, the stretches and exercises they perform in their short visit to the fitness center may be negated by hours spent in unsafe body postures.
Does your company or corporate wellness program involve any new-hire training for proper ergonomics?