The Benefits of Stretching at Work (Posters Included)

Updated on February 13, 2018
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I am a certified personal trainer. When I was in my 20s, I lost a close friend to breast cancer.

Employees Should be Trained on Muscle Safety

We have risk management programs, safety glasses, hard hats, and reflective work vests, but where are the programs for muscle safety? We move, we work, we achieve, but we leave our muscles behind.

America, together we laughed at yoga and pilates. We were mystified by the balance ball and many other fitness products. But, years later, we came to embrace all of these trends and products.

So now what? Something even simpler: stretching. You may be laughing now, but later you will see the wisdom of these exercises. We have been empowered with new fitness programs. Now, we need a revolution in the workplace!

America needs a competitive advantage. What if there was a method to reduce injuries and encourage exercise without substantial investment? Good news, we have the solution! Through athletic programs and extensive research, we have learned the value of stretching.

An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.

— Jack Welch (Retired CEO of General Electric)

Benefits of Stretching

Stretching helps protect our muscles. Unfortunately, stretching has not yet taken a foothold in U.S. workplaces. The time for change is upon us!

Here are some motivational and instructional posters to encourage stretching. I provide specific examples of three types of stretches: static, dynamic, and a new type of cutting-edge stretching called AIS (active isolated stretching).

Stretching on a daily basis can provide a competitive edge in the workplace because it has the power to prevent injuries, save money, and make work more enjoyable (both physically and mentally).

Even more benefits:

  • Increased ability to perform everyday tasks at work, home, and play.
  • Provides a mental break from the work routine, resulting in reduced stress.
  • Decreased risk of musculoskeletal disorders/cumulative trauma disorders.
  • Less joint wear and tear, and reduced osteoarthritis joint stiffness and pain.
  • Improved reaction time, balance, and better posture.
  • Reduced muscle fatigue and soreness.
  • Decreased risk of joint stiffness and/or lower back, neck, shoulders, knees, hips, elbows, wrists, and hand pain.
  • More energy resulting from increased blood supply and nutrients to muscles, tendons, and joints.

Stretching Can Pay Dividends in the Work Environment

The American workplace ranges from large offices to large manufacturing settings and the majority of these sites now offer a comprehensive risk management program. Often the issuance of the safety manual is standard practice. The reason for this was high worker's compensation claims, and yet we have not considered stretching a solution to inefficiency.

Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person (not just an employee) are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.

— Anne M. Mulcahy

Stretching is the Best Investment

Stretching is the best investment an individual and an employer can make. America needs to regain its competitive edge. We all need to stand up and stretch to feel better about ourselves and our job. A happy and healthy employee will do better work and will be more likely to stay onboard with the company. What can employers do to encourage stretching?

Training Posters

Posters can train and motivate us to stretch daily. Stretching daily will improve our productivity. Stretching prevents injuries and also serves to activate both our muscles and our endorphins. Join me and see firsthand some great stretching posters for you to add to your workplace today!

Colorful Safety Poster Showcasing Stretches for the Office
Colorful Safety Poster Showcasing Stretches for the Office | Source
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Workplace Safety Poster - Stretching ExercisesWorkplace Safety Poster - Stretching ExercisesWorkplace Safety Poster - Stretching ExercisesWorkplace Safety Poster - Stretching ExercisesWorkplace Safety Poster - Stretching Exercises
Workplace Safety Poster - Stretching Exercises
Workplace Safety Poster - Stretching Exercises | Source
Workplace Safety Poster - Stretching Exercises
Workplace Safety Poster - Stretching Exercises | Source
Source
Workplace Safety Poster - Stretching Exercises
Workplace Safety Poster - Stretching Exercises | Source
Source
Workplace Safety Poster - Stretching Exercises
Workplace Safety Poster - Stretching Exercises | Source
Source
Workplace Safety Poster - Stretching Exercises
Workplace Safety Poster - Stretching Exercises | Source

Warm-up Exercises

New research suggests that a warm-up may be better for preventing injuries. As an added bonus, physical activity in the workplace has proven to increase mental productivity and creativity.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Stretching Poster with Man in Orange Shirt and Construction HatWarm Up Exercise Poster for the Work PlaceSample Warm Up Stretches for the Work PlaceColorful poster in yellow and purpose showcasing different stretches for warm upblack and white diagram of person stretching showing how the back muscles are stretched
Stretching Poster with Man in Orange Shirt and Construction Hat
Stretching Poster with Man in Orange Shirt and Construction Hat | Source
Warm Up Exercise Poster for the Work Place
Warm Up Exercise Poster for the Work Place | Source
Sample Warm Up Stretches for the Work Place
Sample Warm Up Stretches for the Work Place | Source
Colorful poster in yellow and purpose showcasing different stretches for warm up
Colorful poster in yellow and purpose showcasing different stretches for warm up | Source
black and white diagram of person stretching showing how the back muscles are stretched
black and white diagram of person stretching showing how the back muscles are stretched | Source

Types of Stretching

The purpose of this article is not to detail the many types of stretching exercises available, but rather to offer the many benefits of stretching with the added bonus of some specific examples to consider.

Please find in the table below, a summary of three types of stretching. Be aware that there are several more types of stretches that we will not cover.

Stretch Type
Explaination
Examples
Static Stretching
Involves holding a position
Excellent to improve flexibility, often used in cool downs
Dynamic Stretching
Involves moving parts of your body and gradually increasing reach, speed of movement, or both
Slow, controlled leg swings, arm swings, or torso twists
Active Isolated Stretching (AIS)
Involved precise exericse to isolate muscles
Quick stretches no more than 2-3 seconds

What's the Best Type of Warm-Up?

The NY Times reported that jumping jacks and soldier kicks might be a better alternative to static stretches. These exercises are called "dynamic warm-ups" and serve to not just stretch our muscles but to get our heart pumping, too.

Dynamic stretching is recommended after a 3-5 minute cardio warm-up. The goal is not the length of strides and muscle extension but the quickness of movements. So, for example, when performing high knees or butt kickers, seek quickness more than muscle extension.

Examples of Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises:

  • High knees
  • Butt kickers
  • Side kicks
  • Skipping
  • Arm circles

Components of Cutting-Edge Stretches

A pre-workout stretching session will allow you to work even harder but with less of a chance of tearing a muscle or straining your back or a joint.

Here are the components that make these stretches cutting edge:

  • Completeness - full body workout
  • Quickness - video only takes 2 minutes
  • Simplicity - anyone and everyone can do this routine daily

Cutting-Edge Stretches - AIS Stretches

Beyond static and dynamic stretching is AIS stretching (commonly referred to as "cutting-edge"). AIS stands for "active isolated stretches". Active isolated stretches work well for both pre-workouts and also for physically demanding jobs.

To get us started is a video by Peter Carvelle of Six Pack Factory.

What I like about Carvelle's video is its completeness, simplicity, and quickness. These are the components that we all seek for easy exercise. The stretches in the video are very quick but controlled and, in only a few minutes, you will have touched upon all the major muscle groups you will be working on in your next activity.

Stretching workout summary:

  • Controlled movements (not ballistic)
  • Do stretch two to three seconds then relax
  • Do six reps on each side
  • Do for each muscle group
  • Do before your workout or activity

If you want better results, give this new stretching routine a try.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Example of Active Stretch - Butt KickersExample of Active Stretch - Arm CirclesExample of Active Stretch - Leg SwingExample of Active Stretch - Arm Swing
Example of Active Stretch - Butt Kickers
Example of Active Stretch - Butt Kickers | Source
Example of Active Stretch - Arm Circles
Example of Active Stretch - Arm Circles
Example of Active Stretch - Leg Swing
Example of Active Stretch - Leg Swing
Example of Active Stretch - Arm Swing
Example of Active Stretch - Arm Swing

Stretch for Safety, Mental Stability, the Body, and the Soul

A proper stretching program (overseen by a fitness professional to get you started on the right track) will pay dividends, not just in your worker's compensation but also in your employee morale.

Stretching will not only help your employees' muscles and prepare them for hard work (or sometimes mental labor) but will showcase your concern for their mental and physical welfare. In the workplace, it is the details that make you a better leader.

Do the right thing and start a stretching program today at your workplace. Take the first step and order a fun, colorful poster to visibly show your commitment to stretching for safety.

Share Your Thoughts

Do you have stretching posters in your work place? If not, are you motivated to invest in a few good posters to help the physical health of your workers? If you do have motivational stretching posters in your work place, please share your success stories.

What Do You Think?

Can stretching improve our worker's safety and productivity?

See results

© 2014 Kelly A Burnett

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    • profile image

      Lisa 4 months ago

      Hello,

      Are these posters available for us to use?

    • profile image

      vanessa 7 months ago

      how did you use colour, images or lettering to help get your message across?

    • Easy Exercise profile image
      Author

      Kelly A Burnett 3 years ago from United States

      Ken Kline,

      I really wish these were not just "risk management". I wish exercise to become a way of life - work life, home life, and most importantly family life. Thank you very much for stopping by and contributing.

    • profile image

      Ken Kline 3 years ago

      Excellent risk management suggestions.

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