Came across an interesting article of a wellness ritual that Amazon has integrated in its warehouses to become “Earth’s safest place to work”:
At least once per month, workers gather in a circle (called a “wellness huddle”) and watch a video of an animated robot going through proper lifting form along with a few stretches.
It’s one “spoke” of Amazon’s WorkingWell program designed to help build healthy nutrition habits… support physical health… and re-energize and recharge in the middle of the day.
Not surprisingly there is mixed feedback on this little wellness ritual.
However, let’s extract some of the gems from this routine:
#1: Mindful of “good form”
Over time people tend to get lazy when using good lifting form. They take it for granted. Or they will only use proper form when lifting something heavy but get sloppy when picking up a stray #2 pencil… a rolled up newspaper… or their cat. And guess what? Each year people blow out their backs picking up light objects (well, some cats are hefty) like these. The point is, it doesn’t matter how strong your back is. If you use poor form, your risk for injury skyrockets. While it possibly takes a few extra seconds to get yourself in a good lifting position, ask anyone who’s blown a disc if it’s worth it.
#2: Intermittent stretches
Taking a few minutes to stand up and do a few stretches allows you to reset and release all the muscles that have been clamped down for hours. Whether you sit at a desk for hours each day or do highly repetitive movements all day long, stretches (or gentle mobility exercises) allow you to keep muscular imbalances at bay. And unfortunately most people don’t take these seriously until their neck, shoulder or lower back starts killing them.
#3: Good form only takes you so far.
If your body is really out of whack because of years of sitting all day – you often require extra work (with corrective exercises) to restore balance in the body. You can have textbook lifting form but if you lack strength or core endurance you can still fall victim to fatigue or compensation (aka using your back muscles instead of your core). And if you lack mobility or flexibility you are going to struggle like a square peg in a star hole to get into “good lifting form” in the first place.
By the way, this is one reason why being able to touch your toes is so important. Because if you can’t touch your toes, you often have mobility restrictions in the hips. And if you can’t move from the hips, you can’t lift from your hips. So you are more likely to lift with your low back instead (which is no Bueno).
Anyway, we’ll see how these “wellness huddles” evolve
My guess is even if they aren’t great, Amazon will refine… and refine… until they run like a fine-oiled machine for improving injuries and boosting employee morale.
In the meantime, use these 3 tips to keep yourself moving freely… pain-free… able to perform at your best.
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