June is National Safety Month, a topic that is so important to the well-being of everybody, but so often is unfortunately in the backs of our minds. To honor the importance of safety, we will be talking about the following topics throughout the week: Week 1: Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls Week 2: Employee Wellness Week 3: Emergency Preparedness Week 4: Ergonomics To celebrate it this week, we will be talking about the importance of ergonomics in our daily lives! Making the effort to set aside time to stretch throughout the day can be beneficial to your health. Stretching helps increase blood flow and oxygen to your extremities and warms and loosens your muscles and tendons. It can help reduce sprains, strains and your risk of ergonomic injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis. Plus, you’re doing your body a favor by relieving stress and recovering from muscle fatigue. The basics of stretching • Pain is not gain – you should only stretch until you feel a mild tension that relaxes as you hold the stretch. • If a stretch begins to hurt, ease up on the amount of stretch and quit if you can’t do it without pain. • Stretches should be held for 5 to 30 seconds – you should not be bouncing • Breathe deeply and slowly while performing stretches. • Consult your doctor before starting a stretching program if you have recently had surgery or any muscle or joint problems. Sample stretches Ankle Stretch 1. Sit securely on the edge of a sturdy, armless chair. 2. Stretch legs out in front of you. 3. With heels on floor, bend ankles and point toes upward, toward you. 4. Hold position for 15 to 30 seconds. 5, Bend ankles to point toes away from you. 6. Hold position for 15 to 30 seconds. 7. Repeat 3 to 5 times. Chest Stretch 1. Stand or sit in a sturdy chair. 2. Keep feet flat on floor, 12-18 inches apart. 3, Hold arms at your sides at shoulder height, palms facing forward. 4. Slowly move arms back, while squeezing your shoulder blades together. 5. Stop when you feel the stretch or sense discomfort. 6. Hold position for 15 to 30 seconds. 7. Repeat 3 to 5 times. Neck Stretch 1. Stand or sit in a sturdy chair. 2. Keep feet flat on floor, 12-18 inches apart. 3. Slowly and gently, turn head to right until you feel a slight stretch. 4. Do not tilt head forward or backward. 5. Hold position for 15-30 seconds. 6. Return to forward looking position. 7. Slowly and gently, turn head to the left until you feel a slight stretch. 8. Do not tilt head forward or backward. 9. Hold position for 15-30 seconds. 10.Return to forward looking position. 11.Repeat 3 to 5 times. Shoulder Stretch 1. Stand with back against wall. 2. Keep feet flat on floor, 12-18 inches apart with arms at shoulder height. 3. Bend elbows so fingertips point upward, toward ceiling, and touch the wall. 4. Hold position for 15-30 seconds. 5. Stop stretch if you feel discomfort or pain. 6. Let arms roll forward, slowly, elbows remaining bent. 7. Alternate position, pointing towards the hips or above the head. 8. Repeat 3 to 5 times. Upper Body Stretch 1. Stand facing wall, about an arm's length from the wall. 2. Keep feet 12-18 inches apart. 3. Lean body forward towards the wall, palms flat against the wall at shoulder height, 12-18 inches apart. 4. Keep back straight and slowly "walk" your hands up the wall until your arms are above your head. 5. Hold arms overhead for about 10 to 30 seconds. 6. Slowly "walk" your hands back down the wall. 7. Relax and, then, repeat flexibility exercise. 8. Repeat 3 to 5 times.