Dynamic warmups play a crucial role in industrial work settings, and the benefits aren’t just physical. In fact, limbering your muscles up carries a host of cognitive, social, and safety advantages.
Dynamic Warmups in Industrial WorksitesThere is huge debate on whether stretching can prevent musculoskeletal injuries (MSI), making it challenging to determine the role warmups have in injury prevention. Several studies came to conflicting conclusions on the relationship between stretching and MSIs. The reason is obvious: warmup stretching doesn’t control other risk factors, such as force, frequency, and duration. But, warming up can reduce the risk carried by all those factors. Actively contracting and stretching the muscles in a dynamic warmup increases your heart rate as well as your core body and muscle temperatures. This improves, among other things, the muscle’s ability to lengthen, priming them for the task ahead. The more dynamic the routine is, the better. Most industrial work is highly active, engaging all areas of the body in the range of movements needed to get the job done. In essence, a dynamic warmup routine is a quick series of movements that pre-activate the muscles about to be put to work. For a well-trained supervisor, warmup routines offer a unique opportunity to assess each worker’s job readiness and keep an eye out for early signs of MSIs. In doing so, the supervisor can prevent both acute injuries – that can happen when someone’s body isn’t physically prepared for their work – and cumulative injuries, such as an MSI that has been developing over the course of several years.
Preparing the Body Prepares the MindWarming up the body warms up the mind too. Moving the muscles and getting your blood flowing increases alertness as it reduces mental and physical fatigue. It comes as no surprise, then, that a morning warmup routine can have tremendously positive effects on your mental wellness. This may be in part due to the social benefits of warmup programs. Bringing a work team together, especially to exercise and start their day together, increases team bonds, boosts worker morale, and improves team communication. This brings us back to one of the fundamental concepts of workplace health: moving your body may offer major benefits to your physical and cognitive function, social dynamics, and overall safety. The result? Increased productivity, happiness, and job satisfaction. So, the million-dollar question is, why isn’t everyone doing this? Many industrial workplaces do have warmup programs in place. The problem is, they’re not well designed, leading to poor buy-in and low adherence.
How to Implement a Dynamic Warmup ProgramFortunately, there are some simple tips for implementing a successful program:
- The top-down approach.
- Focus on the return on investment.
- No workforce is too large or too spread out for a dynamic warmup program.
- Training and accountability.
- The program is part of the workday.
- Make it fun.
- Keep it short.
- Evaluate the program.