Whether you’ve experienced an injury, taken a lengthy holiday or worked from home due to social distancing restrictions, your fitness for work will have been altered. This will most certainly have led to some muscular deconditioning. Deconditioning is the normal muscular response to a decrease in physical activity.
No matter what the reason for ceasing work is, if you no longer get dressed and ready for work, or walk into your workplace and engage in your normal activities, your muscles will gradually lose the strength to perform those activities. Once we return we can gradually improve our conditioning and fitness to these activities. We can build up specific work fitness, however we can lose this work fitness just as quickly as we can gain it.
Research tells us that we can start losing strength and conditioning 24 hours after stopping our normal activities, and if this inactivity continues for 5-6 weeks, we can then lose up to 30-40% of our overall strength. Imagine losing 40% of your wealth in 6 weeks, it’s certainly significant. When returning to work after an extended time off, we recommend incorporating the following 5 easy to implement strategies, to help you not only return to work, but stay at work and stay healthy.
By implementing these strategies after an extended period off work, you will gradually build up your strength and fitness to manage your regular work duties and activities of daily life. It will allow you to safely return to the things you want to do and stay there on a durable basis. It’s important to note that all these strategies are not major alterations and that small changes can make big differences.
OccHealth by Altius has successfully supported employees and employers with return to work strategies for over 25 years. Our allied health professionals have provided support to thousands of people to return to work safely and durably, realising their health potential.
For a recent example of OccHealth’s workplace strategies in action, please follow the link to view a success story from our Recovery and Wellness Initiative (RAWI).
If we can help you with further information or support, please visit our website and contact one of our friendly Accredited Exercise Physiologists.