Want to reduce rates of absenteeism at your company? Simple. Just get everyone stretching in your corporate wellness solutions.
Okay, maybe it’s not quite that simple. Still, flexibility is more important than you might realize. It helps bones, muscles and joints stay healthy and protects them against injury. Whether your employees do manual labor, stand most of the day or spend the bulk of their working hours at their desks, they can benefit from flexibility training.
We all lose flexibility as we age, making our joints and muscles stiffer and more prone to injury. And injuries are one of the leading causes of absenteeism. Stiff back muscles can also lead to back pain, another top cause of lost of work days. But stretching and flexibility exercises like yoga and Pilates can relieve soreness and stiffness. They also increase joints’ range of motion, decreasing the likelihood of injury from overextension.
Too Much Desk Time Makes You Stiff and Sore. Stretching Can Help.
Flexibility is also important for employees who spend much of their time seated. Sitting for too many hours a day has been associated with a whole host of health problems, from diabetes to obesity and cardiovascular disease. But it’s also bad for the musculoskeletal system. Too much sitting can make your spine less flexible, putting you at greater risk for back pain and disk problems. It can reduce the range of motion in your hip flexor muscles, weaken your abs and glutes and tighten and stress your back muscles. Hunching over a keyboard can overextend your back and shoulder muscles and strain your neck muscles. The result? Poor posture, pain, an increased likelihood of injury and the aggravation of such conditions as arthritis.
But stretching can help alleviate the problems caused by too much sitting. Hourly stretch breaks during the work day are particularly helpful because they give employees opportunities to get up and moving, getting their blood flowing and activating muscles that have gone unused.
There are many easy ways to integrate flexibility training into your corporate wellness solution. You can direct employees to online videos demonstrating stretches they can do in the office or put up posters illustrating different stretches around the worksite. For more intense flexibility workouts, employees can take yoga or Pilates classes, either at the gym or by following videos at home.
You don’t have to be a gymnast or a yoga buff to benefit from being more flexible. Greater flexibility helps you with many of the tasks you do in everyday life, from lifting heavy boxes of copy paper to reaching for those dishes on the top shelf. Add a simple flexibility component to your corporate wellness program and your employees will quickly see the benefits of becoming more limber.