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3 Stretches to Do During Your Shift That Will Decrease Injury

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3 Stretches to Do During Your Shift That Will Decrease Injury

There are advantages to performing manual labor each day. One of the most obvious is that you are moving and burning calories, which helps keep your weight in a healthy range. Another is you’re probably staying fit, all that moving and lifting is giving you a healthy cardiovascular system and building muscle.

However, there is a downside to manual labor that almost everyone who does it has experienced at one time or another: The toll that hard work can take on your body. It’s especially true when you’re performing intense and repetitive motions throughout your shift. Your back, shoulders, knees and legs can take a beating.

The good news is a few simple changes to your routine can make a world of difference. One of the most beneficial changes is to add a few stretches to counteract some of those moves that are wearing out your body. Here are three stretches (yoga poses) you can incorporate into your workday that could save your body without drawing too much unwanted attention:

Reach for the sky

The upward hands pose is a stretch many people do every morning without giving it much thought. They roll out of bed, stand up, yawn, raise their arms, arch their spine, and look up. It is an intuitive movement that loosens the lower back after a night of lying flat.

It will have the same effect on the job. Your back muscles (especially the lower back) contract with all the lifting, pulling and pushing that manual labor requires. Reach to the ceiling, pretend there is a string tied to the tip of your fingers and someone overhead is pulling the string upward. You can almost feel your spine decompress as your lower back muscles elongate.

Cross-body shoulder stretch

The cross-body shoulder stretch is perfect for stretching out the shoulder muscles, including the deltoid. You can do this stretch standing or sitting by grabbing one arm just above the elbow and pulling it across your body toward your chest. Be sure to keep your elbow below shoulder height. Hold it for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Standing hamstring stretch

The hamstring muscle group is located at the back of your thigh and the bottom of your pelvis. These muscles can become chronically contracted, which keeps your pelvis pulled down in the back. This can pull your lower back out of alignment, which makes it weaker and susceptible to injury.

There are several hamstring stretches you could do lying down, but if you’re on the job, you can perform a one-legged hamstring stretch from a standing position. Extend one leg out with your back straight. Then, bend from your hip joints to bring your chest toward your thigh. The leg that’s not being stretched will also bend at the knee.

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