Why is Stretching Important for Preventing Injuries?
Stretching plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being, but did you know it can help prevent you from sustaining injuries at work?
Keep reading to learn the importance of and how you can prevent future injuries.
Stretching is not just for athletes, it is an important factor in keeping anyone performing their best whether that is at work or in the gym.
In fact, stretching can help you avoid a work-related musculoskeletal disorder which accounts for 30% of occupational injuries and illnesses.
Stretching prevents injuries by promoting muscle flexibility and joint mobility.
Tight muscles and limited range of motion can increase the risk of strains, sprains, and other musculoskeletal injuries affecting the back, neck, spinal cord, hips, and more.
Regular stretching helps alleviate muscle tension and imbalances, reducing the chances of injury during physical tasks.
Stretching can even prevent injuries from simple activities like prolonged sitting at your workstation.
1. Increased flexibility and range of motion
Stretching exercises improve flexibility by increasing the length and elasticity of muscles and tendons.
With time, regular stretching can improve your range of motion, making certain movements more comfortable, easy, and smooth.
Tight muscles and joints are weaker and unable to fully extend making you more prone to joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
Flexibility helps with everyday movements like:
- Lifting objects
2. Improved muscle coordination and balance
Stretching promotes better muscle coordination and balance.
By stretching different muscle groups, you engage and activate muscles that may be underutilized or weaker.
This helps improve muscle balance and reduces the risk of muscle imbalances and associated injuries.
Better coordination and balance also improve posture and overall body control.
3. Improved circulation
Stretching stimulates blood circulation, increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and tissues.
Improved circulation aids in muscle recovery, reduces muscle fatigue, and enhances soft tissue health.
Adequate blood flow also helps remove metabolic waste products, reducing the risk of muscle cramps and discomfort.
Stretching and injury prevention
How can you reduce your risk of an injury by stretching?
The benefits listed above can make any task easier on your body and prevent the risk of injuries or muscle strain.
Stretching at least 10 minutes every day for every hour at your workstation is crucial because you will not see improvement if you are inconsistent.
Depending on how long you stretch for each day, it can take two weeks to three months before seeing a difference in your muscle health and flexibility. That may seem like a long time before you really feel a change but the sooner you start, the sooner you will experience the benefit.
By beginning your workday with stretching, you are waking yourself up by clearing your mind and improving your muscle coordination.
When you feel better, you perform better.
It is important to know that stretching does not prevent all workplace injuries, but it can be combined with other strategies to keep you healthy such as:
- Taking short breaks throughout the workday
- Following proper workplace safety procedures
- Taking a walk outside to clear your mind
- Breaking up tasks to allow your body to change positions
Ready to prioritize daily stretching?
Dedicate 10 minutes every day to stretching your muscles and joints to optimize your physical performance and decrease the chance of sustaining a work-related injury.
Need some stretching tips? Check out Healthline’s simple stretching guide.