CTR Shows Its Multidisciplinary Strength
CTR recently completed a multidisciplinary project that developed a Stretch and Flex program for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). This initiative merged CTR’s transportation fieldwork expertise with the healthy movement know-how of the UT Department of Kinesiology (one of the top 5 Departments of Kinesiology in the country).
“This research project was an excellent opportunity to bring together two fields, Engineering and Health Science, to work towards a common goal,” noted Principal Investigator Dr. Fernanda Leite. “I learned a great deal from our Kinesiology partners and have gained an appreciation for strain/sprain injury prevention exercises. I have even adopted the ‘office worker’ set of exercises myself.”
Strain/sprain-related incidents account for 40% of the total injuries of TxDOT employees. Studies have shown that muscle strengthening exercises can reduce such incidents in the workplace. Since injury of the low back is the most common work-related injury, strengthening the core musculature is the best preventative strategy. However, most of the “Stretch and Flex” programs currently being implemented involve more stretching than flexing, even though flexing exercises help build the core strength instrumental in remaining injury-free.
In addition, traditional core-strengthening exercises are performed on the ground, which may not work well for employees who work outdoors or are not dressed for being on the ground. Thus, our research team built a program around exercises done in the standing position to strengthen the core and target other muscles and joints susceptible to work-related injuries.
The research team delivered these handy tools to TxDOT:
- A guidebook presenting a set of ergonomic recommendations for common TxDOT workplace tasks, designed to teach TxDOT field workers how to most appropriately and effectively use tools in the workplace in order to reduce injury
- A Stretch and Flex exercise program including these components:
This program is expected to reduce the incidence of TxDOT strain/sprain-related incidents and substantially reduce associated costs, which have exceeded $3.7 million over the past 5 years. Download a PDF of the full report here: 0-6805-1, Stretch and Flex Program for TxDOT Office and Field Workers (requires Adobe Reader).