2020 Health Goal: Staying Healthy While Working in Construction
January 16, 2020
It’s often heard that sitting all day is bad for your health, while that is in fact true, a physically demanding job can be harmful too. There are many of nature’s elements that we need protection from, as well as staying hydrated, eating right, getting proper rest and yes, exercise too. Let’s start with the first item, nature’s hazards.
Wearing the right protective gear saves lives. When working outdoors it is very important to wear clothes that protect against sun, heat, rain, cold, snow and anything else that can be dangerous working conditions. Along with protective gear from the elements, we also need to make sure we protect ourselves from debris with proper head gear, sunglasses, gloves and footwear.
Next up is hydration and nutrition. It is easy to forget to drink water when you are sitting all day, but having access to water when you are working outside has to be intentional, you don’t have a drinking fountain or kitchen to go to if you forget a water bottle. It’s common to drink energy drinks or high sugar and sodium drinks for energy, but stay clear of those and stick to water. High sugar and sodium is not optimal for hydration or lasting energy. With healthy beverage choices comes healthy food options. Steer clear of fast food. This means you’ll have to intentionally pack a healthy brown bag lunch and make sure you have it on site with you. We all know what healthy food is so we wont dive to deep into that, but when you are on your feet all day it’s also important to make sure you have enough calories with you so you don't end up making gas station runs for unhealthy snacks. A filling lunch with two healthy snacks to have before and after is optimal to sustain energy levels when on your feet all day. Lastly, as we’ve all heard a million times, don’t skip breakfast if you have an active job. A balanced diet low in sodium, low in bad fats, and low in inflammatory foods, but high in lean protein, vitamins and carbs is best for energy levels and safety during a long day of physical work. If you need more advice on diet, check out this article.
Exercise is also very important when you work a strenuous job. Knee and back pain are two very common symptoms of lifting and being on your feet all day. Part of taking care of yourself is stretching and conditioning those muscles, and maybe even a little physical therapy is good for keeping all of those muscles and joints safe from injury. Along with getting 30 to 60 minutes of exercise outside of work also means you need to get proper rest. It’s easy to go home and flick on the television or join in on late social events with a beer or two, but getting proper rest at the end of the day is vital to health and restoring energy and muscle function. It’s also key to a good mood and keeping a positive attitude no matter what wrench the day throws at you. Not to mention, being drowsy while working with power tools can be just as hazardous as being intoxicated.
There are 3 more health improvement factors that can often be overlooked. Massage therapy, stress, and moisturizing. These are typically talked about among females, in fact it’s a common subject. But sometimes men don’t think moisturizing is important, or wont go get massages, and wont admit they are stressed. Massages are great for muscle recovery, reducing stress, and can release toxins in your overworked tissue, loosen knots, and help with any old injuries that might be getting in the way of your productivity. Massages can also help you sleep better. Staying moisturized is also important for the proper function of your body’s larges organ, your skin. Being on your feet, using your hands, and constantly being exposed to the outside elements can lead to cracked painful skin, exposing you to harmful dust and toxins, and not to mention, skin cancer. Reducing stress is one of the biggest things you can do to stay healthy. That can mean exercising, eating right, laughing, keeping a scent around that relaxes you, hugging someone, setting time for family, meditation, or exposing yourself to animals. Whatever it is that makes you feel happy, calm or excited, is a great way to combat work stress.
We aren't experts on this topic but we see our construction workers get so burnt out, gain weight, and so forth. We don't want this to happen to you. So try making small necessary changes to stay happy, healthy and productive at work.