Erasmus plus - Stretching and Strengthening at Work interact

Stretching and Strengthening at Work

Flexibility is the ability to move a joint through its complete range of movement. Flexibility is dependent upon which muscle and joint is being evaluated; therefore, it is joint specific. Poor flexibility at workplace is often related with many musculoskeletal disorders, including low-back pain. One of the most popular flexibility assessment procedures is the sit and reach test ( ACSM , 2017). This test involves sitting on the floor with legs stretched out straight ahead and shoes removed. The soles of the feet are placed flat against the box. With the palms facing downwards, and hands on top of each other, the employee should reach forward along the measuring line as far as possible and hold that position for at one-two seconds while the distance is recorded, with score recorded to the nearest centimeter ( Figure 13 ).




> +27

> +30


+17 to +27

+21 to +30 +11 to +20


+6 to +16


0 to +5

+1 to +10


-8 to -1

-7 to 0


-20 to -9

-15 to -8

Very poor

< -20

< -15

Figure 13 | Reference values for sit and reach test (cm) in men and women

Measuring physical activity and sedentary time Several methods are available to measure sedentary behavior and the level of physical activity among different populations, including workforce. This includes indirect methods, which are surrogate markers of physical activity (such as body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, and surveys or questionnaires), and direct methods, which reflect actual bodily movement or energy expenditure (including direct calorimetry, doubly labeled water, and accelerometers) ( Kelly and co-workers , 2017). Various surveys and questionnaires are perhaps the easiest and fairly effective tools to assess the types of intensity of physical activity and sitting time that people do as part of their daily lives, including work. The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) was developed to measure health-related physical activity in various populations as part of their everyday lives (Hagströmer and co-workers , 2006)). A short IPAQ version for use by either telephone or self-administered is widely available and valid tool to assess individuals’ last 7-day recall of physical activity. The purpose of IPAQ is to provide a common instrument that can be used to obtain internationally comparable data on health–related physical activity a person spent in the last week at work, as part of house and yard work, to get from place to place, and in spare time for recreation, exercise or sport. IPAQ allows estimating total physical activity in MET-min/week and time spent sitting by 7-item open-ended questionnaire ( Figure 14 ).

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