Rio Tinto – ICARE Body Movement class: The importance of mobility and stability exercises in sedentary workplaces

Over several weeks, Rio Tinto conducted an ICARE movement program for their employees focusing on the role of mobility, stability and strength for risk mitigation and overall joint health. The classes focused on body parts that research has indicated to be of high importance for postural imbalances and musculoskeletal pain in sedentary workplaces. The 4-week exercise program conducted once a week involved various mobility and stability exercises for the hip, spine (cervical, thoracic, lumbar), and shoulder to allow for the optimal function for work-related tasks and other performance measurements (Okada, Huxel & Nesser, 2011; Parry et al., 2017).

Over the weeks, the team at Absolute Balance provided educational information on the importance of mobility and stability. Identifying how it relates to improvements in strength and reductions in workplace musculoskeletal discomfort.  We implemented mobility exercises into the sessions allowing the employees to perform several movements through their full active range of motion
(AROM), whilst reducing any restrictions of the adjacent tissue around the joints. In addition, Absolute Balance implemented stability exercises that challenged the employees to control their joint position and movement by coordinating surrounding tissues and their neuromuscular system (Okada, Huxel & Nesser, 2011).

Mobility relates to movement while stability relates to control”

The primary role of why Absolute Balance implemented these movements of mobility and stability into the program was to improve any postural imbalances, while reducing the impact of musculoskeletal pain/discomfort. Recently, several systemic reviews conducted by Parry et al (2017) and Van Eerd et al (2016) identified that musculoskeletal symptoms such as pain and discomfort in the upper extremities, lower back, and neck are present in more than 90% of sedentary workers. The reviews identified that specific range of motion exercises can have a positive effect on consistent workplace musculoskeletal problems and overall work capacity (Parry et al., 2017; Van Eerd et al., 2016). Therefore, we completed this 4 – week program to increase awareness of the importance of movement while providing them with the tools to complete the exercises in the future.

Overall, each of the employees that undertook the ICARE program thoroughly enjoyed the sessions, identifying the importance of each exercise. Several staff members of Rio Tinto identified that numerous movements that were conducted have been implemented into their daily routines resulting in reductions of musculoskeletal symptoms.

If you are interested in implementing a program like this into your workplace or feel as if your body would benefit from mobility/stability exercises, please contact Absolute Balance on 9244 5580 or email to speak with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.

David McClung

B.Sc. Exercise Science and Rehabilitation (AEP, AES) (ESSAM)
Accredited Exercise Physiologist


Okada, T., Huxel, K. C., & Nesser, T. W. (2011). Relationship between core stability, functional movement, and performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 25(1), 252-261.

Parry, S. P., Coenen, P., O’Sullivan, P. B., Maher, C. G., & Straker, L. M. (2017). Workplace interventions for increasing standing or walking for preventing musculoskeletal symptoms in sedentary workers. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (1).

Van Eerd, D., Munhall, C., Irvin, E., Rempel, D., Brewer, S., Van Der Beek, A. J., … & Amick, B. (2016). Effectiveness of workplace interventions in the prevention of upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders and symptoms: an update of the evidence. Occup Environ Med, 73(1), 62-70.