RR309 - International review of the literature relating to the benefits of limbering up exercises at work
This study aimed to look at limbering up exercises as a means of reducing work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs). The potential benefits of limbering up exercises in the workplace were studied through:
- A review of the literature in English and Japanese, reporting cases where the benefits of limbering up exercises related to work have been investigated;
- An assessment of the problem of WRMSDs in UK industry through a data analysis;
- A workshop and visits to various organisations in Japan to gather the latest research concerning limbering up programmes in the workplace;
- A consultation exercise, making available to British industry the results of the project and gathering feedback regarding limbering up exercises in the workplace;
- A gap analysis looking at how the findings of the literature review meet the needs of industry based on the data analysis and feedback to the consultation document.
The gap analysis indicated that there is not enough quantitative and reliable scientific evidence to make recommendations to industry about implementing limbering up exercises in workplaces as a means of reducing WRMSDs. It was noted, however, that the benefits of general physical (cardio-vascular) exercise as a means of reducing absenteeism from work is better documented and could be recommended. While this would help to meet the HSE's aims of reducing absenteeism from work, it is not clear whether this reduction in absentee rates could be associated with any reduction in WRMSDs. A more rigorous programme of well designed research would be required in order to definitively answer the remaining questions regarding the benefits of limbering up exercises.
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