Working in the construction field means that your body is constantly experiencing physical labor. Taking a few minutes to stretch can help increase one’s range of mobility and muscle performance. Stretching can be used to help recover and reduce the chances of injuries out on the field.
The most common workplace injury in our company is sprains and strains. A sprain is defined as a ligament that is overstretched or torn. While a strain is from overstretching or tearing muscles or tendons. Risk factors stem from rigorous and physical demanding work, ill-fitting footwear, picking up heavy objects and using improper lifting techniques.
Sprains usually occur from a fall, accident or a movement that jars your body causing the individual to stretch a ligament too far, damaging it. Similarly, strains can happen from trauma such as falling, landing wrong when jumping, getting hit or lifting something heavy which leads to a strained back.
Denver Branch Leads the Way
Kinzler’s Denver, Colorado location was the first branch to implement Stretch and Flex as part of their morning routine. David Valenzuela, Denver’s Install Operations Manager, recognizes the importance of stretching everyday thanks to his wife who is a yoga trainer. After pulling a back muscle, stretching is what helped speed up his own recovery. He hopes that implementing this practice for his team will help others avoid similar injuries.
“Stretching in the morning has been a great way to connect and improve overall employee morale,” Valenzuela says. “Not only has stretching helped teams become more engaged with the company, but also has created an opportunity for them to bond with one another and discuss any topics or issues they have questions about.”
To keep the crews engaged, Valenzuela changes the stretches every month. On other occasions, stretches that target a specific muscle have been requested from the participating crew members. After a while, employee-owners out in the field expressed that they have noticed an increase in flexibility, and that they feel good and ready to take on the day after doing their stretches.
Crews Say Stretch & Flex Works!
After hearing about Denver’s success with implementing stretching into their morning routine, our Ankeny location was the second branch to try it out. Various stretches are performed with a lively playlist that keeps our employee-owners motivated and engaged. With similar success, employee-owners voiced positive improvement in their mobility since making it a consistent part of their routine.
Health and Safety Specialist Hunter Van Haalen says, “Much like the prep work that we perform before diving into a job is essential, the ‘prep work’ of stretching and loosening up the body before we begin our daily tasks is equally important to avoiding injury and staying healthy.”
Van Haalen says simple stretches provide big benefits, including:
- Improved range of motion
- Increased circulation of oxygen-rich blood
- Increased core body temp
“By consistently performing static & dynamic movements and stretches, we can increase the range of motion for the spinal column, and joints like shoulders, knees, and elbows,” Van Haalen adds. “This allows us to move more freely when these joints are under stress during our job tasks, lifting and moving more efficiently while we work, and hopefully allowing us to reduce injuries as a result.”
The main goal of the Stretch & Flex program is to keep our crews safe and uninjured, and our participating branches are making the additional effort to ensure that.