Employee Health: The Importance of Stretching Before Working Out

Prevent employee injury by encouraging stretching before fitness activities.

It is no secret that corporate-sponsored wellness programs and employee fitness can go a long way towards creating a healthy, more efficient workplace. Not only does regular exercise amongst employees mean decreased stress and multiple health improvements, but it can also save your business thousands of dollars in health care costs, simply by introducing your staff to a healthier lifestyle.

However, if these beneficial health programs are not promoted and executed safely, it could actually mean the possibility of more injury (and therefore absenteeism) among employees. For instance, perhaps one of the most important elements of a successful workout is often the one that is overlooked the most?proper stretching.

While many people believe that starting out slow and building up to full endurance is the same thing as stretching before an activity, they do not understand just how important stretching is to any kind of physical exercise?Not just for preventing injury and staying safe, but also for the overall performance of your workout.

Stretching both before and after a physical activity can not only help to increase the positive results of your employee’s workout, but it can also decrease muscle soreness afterward and improve their overall quality of life. If these aren’t reason enough to encourage your employees to start including stretching into their workout routine, here are just a few more examples of how stretching regularly can improve overall health and stamina:

Increases Blood Flow

The main reason that stretching is so important both before and after exercising is because it helps to increase blood flow to your muscles. This not only helps to increase mobility and flexibility, but it also prevents your muscles from becoming sore or tiring out quickly. Stretching after a workout can also aid in muscle recovery, alleviating the muscle stiffness and pain that often follows a rigorous workout.

Prevents Injury

When you forget to stretch before and after a workout, you have a higher chance of pulling or damaging a muscle. This is because you jumped right into a strenuous activity without properly warming yourself up. Even as little as five minutes of simple stretching can go a long way towards preventing injury and staying safe during physical activity.

Increases Flexibility

As we get older and our bodies begin to age, our flexibility decreases and our bodies become more stiff and less mobile. However, stretching is a great way to improve flexibility and increase the overall range of motion in your joints. This is extremely vital to anyone who exercises or participates in physically demanding activities because flexibility is an important component of fitness. Not only can it help to increase a person’s overall coordination and movement, but it can also increase muscular strength and endurance.

One of the best parts about stretching is that is can be done nearly anywhere and everywhere, and there are many different ways in which you can warm yourself up. Whether you chose to walk, jog, stretch or bike ride, be sure that you are stretching each of the major muscle groups and focusing on each body part for at least 20 seconds or longer. Also, be sure that you do not bounce or pump your stretches, as this can lead to injury and small tears within your muscles.

Stretching offers the body many different benefits, including flexibility, decreased risk of injury and improvement to your overall workout. Therefore, be sure that you include stretching as part of your employer-sponsored wellness program. In no time, your employees will see the results and will feel the difference in their physical activities, and you as an employer will begin to see the beneficial effects that healthy exercise can have on your company’s bottom line.