OSHA Daily Stretches & Exercises

Young woman in sports clothing stretching her leg on ground

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends some pre-work stretching and flex exercises to help reduce injuries. Stretching helps reduce musculoskeletal disorders and muscle-related discomfort, according to OH&S, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration's online magazine.

Stretching Your Back

For back stretches, stand with your feet spread apart and put your hands on your hips. Slowly bend backward until you start to feel a bit of tension, then hold this position for five seconds. Lean back forward, relax for five seconds, then repeat.

Return to your starting position, but place your arms down to your sides. Reach one hand up above your head at a time and gradually lean to the other side and stretch for five seconds. Return again to the starting position and repeat with your other arm.

Leg Stretches

Stretch out your thighs by lifting your right leg up behind you and holding your ankle with your right hand. Use your arm to pull up on your ankle and stretch your thigh. Balance yourself by holding your left arm out to the side or holding onto something stable. Release your right leg, then repeat with the other side.

Stretch your hamstrings by placing your left foot on a bucket that stands around 12 inches. With that leg straight on the bucket, gradually bend at the hip until you start to feel some tension. Hold this position for five seconds, then switch and do the right side.

Upper Body Stretches

Stretch your shoulders and chest by sticking your arms out to your side, then bend your elbows until your fingers are pointing toward the ceiling. Gently pull your arms back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold this for five seconds, relax for five seconds, and then repeat.

For forearm stretches, begin by holding your arms out straight in front of your body. Face your palms down, make a loose fist, then gently bend your fist down and rotate your wrist. Hold your fist in this position for five seconds, relax for five seconds, and then repeat.

Taking Breaks

Taking short breaks from what you're doing can also be helpful and decrease work injuries, according to OSHA. Doing your job can sometimes cause you to stay in awkward positions for excessive periods of time, which can lead to wear and tear or localized fatigue. When you're doing an activity continuously, whether it's at your desk or out in the field, try to take short breaks, switch to other positions or try to do other tasks to work different muscles groups while allowing those you've been using to rest.