Posted by: Pamela Kalivas | January 17, 2012

The Great Stretch Debate: Should you Stretch or Warm Up?

There is much debate from an injury prevention perspective regarding the benefits of stretching.  Stretching programs have been touted as a way to prevent soreness, improve performance and decrease injury risk but there  is more to evaluate before adding a stretching routine to your Ergonomic Program.

Stretching and warming up are not the same. Proper warm-up can increase the blood flow to a working muscle resulting in decrease muscle stiffness.  The best time to stretch a muscle is after a warm-up.  Stretching a cold Stretching for "static work."muscle can increase the risk of a pulling or tearing injury.  The perfect stretch or warming up process comes with practice, experience and is unique to each individual.Employees performing static work duties such as office work benefit from stretching exercises because there are very few changes in body position, which lead to muscle pain and strain.  Employees performing dynamic work such as lifting, carrying or pushing and pulling should not perform stretching exercises. They recommend for dynamic work, engineering interventions like changing tool design, workstation layout or assist devices for lifting, pulling and pushing.  Warming up is used before a dynamic activity to prepare the muscles and joints for more intense activity.According to DoD Ergonomics Working Group the type of work that is performed guides your need for a stretching program.  In their research, evidence shows that properly stretching will increase the muscles’ range of motion but regardless of whether the work is static or dynamic stretching does not prevent injury. is more to evaluate before adding a stretching routine to your Ergonomic Program.

Warming up for "dynamic activity."

At Sierra, when implementing an ergonomic program for your company, we evaluate which employees would benefit from either stretching or warming up, focusing on improving employee health as part of your workplace fitness and risk prevention programs. Contact us if you would like to know more about how we can assist you with your current program.  We can determine if your employees are using the right technique for their job tasks, how to do these techniques properly or can implement a new program to meet your needs.

  Contact us at (949) 720-3996.

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