Poster: Exercise for Health
Poster: Exercise for Health Poster (Spanish)
Poster: Stretching
Stretching Exercises Video

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has expanded its scope in recent years. However, many employees are incapable of meeting the physical requirements to complete their work tasks.

General Condition
Anyone who is not physically prepared to perform the assigned tasks is more likely to suffer from strains, sprains, backaches, slips, falls, and other injuries. People who are not in good physical condition may be excessively overweight and may experience shortness of breath, fatigue, sore or tender muscles and joints, backaches, and difficulty in keeping up with other individuals.

Athletic coaches realize the importance of conditioning in reducing the risk of injury. They require their players to be mentally alert during the entire game and have stamina to execute plays properly. Working is no different. Your mind and body must be alert and in good condition to perform daily tasks. Here are some simple and effective ways to ensure your fitness.

Exercise is important in maintaining your health and well-being. While it isn’t necessary to build muscles the way bodybuilders do, daily exercise improves muscle tone, helps circulation, and strengthens the cardiovascular system.

Before beginning any extensive exercise program, consult a physician who can recommend how much activity—and of what sort—is best for you. Your doctor’s assessment will take into account your age, your present physical condition, the level of your present activities, and the kind of exercise you enjoy.

Start your physical activity program gradually with conditioning exercises and keep workouts moderate. If you haven’t been getting much exercise lately, 15 minutes of simple exercise each day may be enough at the beginning of your program.

Aside from calisthenics or “sitting-up exercises,” other activities that promote physical preparedness include walking, bicycling, swimming, and jogging. But no matter what form of exercise you choose, the sessions should start with some slow and easy warm-up movements. More strenuous exercise will take up the main part of the session, and then milder, slower exercises will help cool your body down and slow your pulse rate gradually.

Remember to limit your session to a length of time that feels comfortable to you, increasing the time and the number of reps as you begin to feel stronger. Stay alert to signs that you may be overdoing it. Pain and shortness of breath are definite “slow down” messages.

On- and Off-the-Job Exercise Checklist

On and Off the Job:

  • Make a commitment to exercise regularly.
  • Look for opportunities to use and stretch your muscles.
  • Walk as much as possible.
  • Use stairs instead of elevators.
  • Begin each day with bends and stretches.
  • Bend and stretch during breaks.

Walking as Exercise:

  • Wear sturdy, lightweight, comfortable shoes that support and cushion your feet.
  • Wear cotton socks, comfortable, loose-fitting clothes.
  • Stretch a few times before starting.
    > Stand with hands clasped high over and slightly behind head, elbows straight. Lean slowly to side, shoulders straight. After five seconds, come up slowly and lean to other side. Repeat five times. Stand facing wall, an arm's length away. With both heels on ground, put one leg forward, knee bent. Keep back leg straight. Body straight, lean forward and place palms on wall. Bend elbows till right leg feels stretch. Hold for 20 seconds. Then reverse legs and repeat. Repeat several times each way.
  • Walk slowly for first five minutes, gradually increase pace.
  • Walk at a brisk pace, with long, easy strides.
  • Walk with back straight, arms swinging, abdomen flat. Breathe deeply.
  • Walk for at least 20 minutes.
  • Walk more slowly for last few minutes.
  • Stretch a few times at end of walk.

Stretching and Bending:

  • Arch and flex back and turn head from side to side.
  • Stand, feet apart, hands on hips; gently rotate upper body.
  • March in place several times, slowly raising knees as high as possible.

Seek Enjoyable Exercise:

  • Sports
  • Swimming
  • Gardening
  • Dancing

Exercise Cautions:

  • Consult a doctor before starting a program if you haven't been getting any exercise.
  • Don't continue anything that causes pain.
  • Build-up exercise time and effort gradually.

Additional Resources
WCF Insurance Safety Department
(385) 351-8103

Ask a Safety Consultant

NOTICE: This guide may make reference to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; however the guide is not legal advice as to compliance with OSHA or other safety laws, codes, or regulations. Compliance with OSHA and other safety laws codes or regulations, and maintaining a safe work environment for your employees remains your responsibility. WCF Insurance does not undertake to perform the duty of any person to provide for the health or safety of your employees. WCF Insurance does not warrant that your workplace is safe or healthful, or that it complies with any laws, regulations, codes, or standards.