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A warm up to remember

By Lauren Smith

Warm UpSometimes it’s hard to fit everything into my day.

With work, errands, eating, sleeping, and other important tasks, it can be hard to find time for exercise. But, physical health is important, so I do my best to squeeze in a fitness class after work.

Often I find myself running a bit late to my class, resulting in me missing the warm up. I know this is terrible because without a proper warm up my muscles aren’t prepared to physically exert themselves and I run the risk of injury, which got me thinking about jobs that do require physical exertion….


From the inside out

When we talk about workplace safety, we often talk about the PPE (personal protective equipment) that’s required to protect your body from the outside risks. But one thing we don’t always mention is the importance of protecting your body from the inside risks when performing physical labour.

Warming up your body is important before doing any physical activity, whether it’s exercise or a laborious job (at work or at home). Without a proper warm up to prepare your muscles for physical exertion, you could risk getting injured.


Warm up specifics

With summer comes more outside job opportunities, which are usually labour intensive. How you warm up for work depends on your specific job duties.

Here are some general tips for warming up to help get you started:
(taken from The City of Tuscon)

  • Warm up your muscles before you stretch. If your muscles are stiff or ‘cold’, a quick walk or a few jumping jacks will help increase your heart rate and prepare your body for gentle stretching.
  • Gently stretch all the major muscle groups. And pay close attention to the muscles that are commonly used for your specific job duties.
  • Maintain proper technique when stretching. Do not overstretch yourself to the point of pain. Tension should only be felt in the muscle, not the joint. Do not bounce when doing the stretch, just move slowly and breathe deeply.
  • Do not force yourself into a stretch. Work at it gradually every day. Eventually you will gain the flexibility to do all the stretches with ease.

Find more information on their site and check out the examples of simple stretches that you can do before you begin work each day.


Beneficial all around

In addition to helping prevent injuries, other benefits of getting your body ready for work with some gentle stretching include:

  • Reduces tension in your muscles
  • Increases your range of motion
  • Prepares your mentally and physically for any activity
  • Promotes circulation
  • Plus, it just feels good!

 
Ask your employer

If your job requires any level of physical exertion, ask your employer what kind of warm up you should be doing before you begin your duties each day. They can direct you to resources to ensure you’re fully warming up your muscles before your shift.

 

Sources:
http://www.worksafenb.ca/docs/e_stretchpamph.pdf
http://hr.tucsonaz.gov/wellness/warm-up-to-work

 

 

 

 

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