ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Construction workers building a new soccer stadium in downtown St. Louis say there’s one part of their routine they never skip: a few minutes of stretching to loosen up.
“Every morning we do bend and stretch with everybody on site. That’s a requirement,” Ian Small, safety director for the Mortenson-Alberici-Keeley Joint-Venture (MAK JV) told NewsNation affiliate KTVI.
Every day at 7 a.m. sharp, the workers go through a professionally designed five- to seven-minute program to loosen up. Everyone participates, from management on down.
With the kind of work that goes into building a $460 million, 22,500-seat stadium for St. Louis’s new Major League Soccer (MLS) soccer team St. Louis CITY SC. you truly have to be on your game.
“It’s more than just about the stretching. It’s really about communication, building morale, establishing our culture,” Small said.
KTVI caught the 200 workers in action as they warmed up for the day, which Small says the company does at construction sites across the country to prevent injuries.
Dr. Katie Russo of SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital’s physical therapy department says that stretching is important for all of us, not just professional athletes or construction workers.
“The body wants to move,” Russo said. “Our joints need that movement to warm themselves up.”
Whether your job is to tote a microphone, sit at a desk, or build soccer stadiums, something like that five- to seven-minute stretch routine is probably a much better way to start your day than that morning coffee.
“It’s really important to get up and move before you sit down to work and then, we say every half hour, it gets your heart rate up a little bit, increases endorphins,” Russo said.
Workers say it also adds to their bond with the city, the team that will be play in the stadium and their pride in the job. They actually dread of the idea of starting a day without their bend-and-stretch routine.
“I guess I’d be a little stiffer, for starters, but I’d miss out on the communication,” Small said. “We always play music. It’s a little jovial, a light start to the day. It really helps get you motivated for what’s ahead and start with a positive outlook.”
Small said it’s important for the workers to maintain good physical conditioning and a “solid mental state.”