Construction workers get a morning work-out

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The $110 million expansion project at St. Francis Hospital in Columbus is still underway.

In less than a year walls have gone up at the construction site and you can see the amount of progress made by construction companies, but you may be surprised at how these workers prepare for a day on the job.

It isn't abnormal to see joggers doing stretches before they go for a run, but if you drive past St. Francis Hospital early in the morning you may spot a few construction workers doing a few exercises of their own.

Project Director for Skanska Tracy Hunt explained, ""Stretch and Flex" started about nine years ago in our company. It is actually something that came over from the European markets. It is the idea of taking 10 or 15 minutes in the morning to get mentally prepared for the day and to get physically prepared."

At first the workers weren't so excited about doing this routine in public. Louie Larry, a "Stretch and Flex" participant said, "My first reaction was that it was probably silly and not followed and kind of a morning activity that just fell by the wayside."

Hunt added, "The good thing about it is everybody is doing it so you can be collectively embarrassed together."

Although Hunt says the main purpose of the mini-exercise session is to loosen up the workers, "It gets your muscles warmed up, and it cuts down on soft tissue injuries like your shoulders, legs, ankles, and backs."

Larry says "Stretch and Flex" has actually built a sense of teamwork, "Everyone knows each other, instead of it being several groups of people it is one large group working together to accomplish a task."

Skanska job sites all over the world participate in the stretching.

"Everybody from the vice-president down to the office assistants comes out onto the job site every morning with the guys. Everybody participates. Sometimes there is music. It's a good time to talk, it's an opportunity to meet everyone, and just discuss what is going on that day," Larry told News Leader 9. He adds the company prides itself in cutting down job related injuries, "I have not had a soft tissue injury to date since we have been working with Skanska."

After they do "Stretch and Flex" and they get to work, we're told these construction workers are right on schedule to have the project complete by August 2013.

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