Tradies get the best offices – you’re often out and about across the country, working in a different place every day, and enjoying (or dreading) the full brunt of nature.
All this means that tradies are at risk of injuring themselves or getting sick because of being out in the elements and around all that equipment. Working your body hard means that sometimes you body rebels, and you’ve got to rest and recover. That means time out from work (and often,
You don’t need a strict diet or exercise routine to stay healthy on site. Here are some tips to help you combat the health hazards you may encounter every day,
1. Take regular breaks
You skipping lunch again or working through your smoko break to get the job done? If this is a regular occurance, you need to rethink your habits. Breaks are essential to your health, especially if you’re doing physical work.
A regular break restores your energy levels and improves your concentration. The human brain and body isn’t designed to concentrate for such long periods, and even if we don’t notice it, we start to get bored. It’s when we hit this boredom wall that our concentration starts to slip and we make mistakes. Many of those mistakes end up being accidents and injuries.
A break doesn’t have to be long – even a few minutes is better than no break at all.
2. Wear sunscreen
In 2014, the Cancer Council of Victoria conducted research that showed twice as many Victorian men over 45 died from melanoma than women of the same age. The research pointed to a lack of skin-care on outdoor worksites (where male labourers dominate) as one of the significant causes of this.
This pattern is repeated across the world, with tradies and other outdoor workers – those most at risk – forgetting the sunscreen, glasses, and hat. Aside from melanoma, too much sun exposure can leave you dehydrated, lethargic, and can also cause permanent damage to your skin and eyes. Make it a habit to slop on that sunscreen if you’re going to be outdoors for more than 20 minutes, even if it’s not a particularly sunny day.
3. Drink a ton of water
Your body needs water to keep it going. And no – fizzy drinks and beer doesn’t count. Try and smash at least 1-2 litres during the day. Ditch the energy drinks and save the beer for the end of a hard day.
4. Practice Smart Lifting
You’re only good for physical work for as long as your back holds out, and that won’t be long if you keep trying to lift everything with it. One in three injuries sustained by Australian workers are related to manual handling, so this is a pretty big problem (and no one is listening). Get familiar with proper lifting technique, and encourage the whole team on site to follow these simple rules. Always ask for a hand if you’re lifting something that’s too heavy, and just use your noggin and be sensible.
A Canadian study showed that construction workers actually have a “physical wisdom” that enables them to work effectively for longer while minimising damage to their bodies. It makes for an interesting read!
5. Get the health basics right.
This means eating well and getting exercise outside work. Many tradies assume that having a physical job means your exercise needs are taken care of, this isn’t necessarily true. You’re gonna build some mean muscles and burn calories faster than an office worker, but you’re probably not improving your overall fitness while on site. Try another type of exercise – swimming, footy, or even weightlifting – to keep you fit and healthy.
I know it’s hard, but all those greasy takeaway lunches take a toll on your health. Instead, go for something filling and healthy – food rich in nutrients that will give you tons of energy and make you feel great. But that doesn’t mean your healthy food has to be boring – check out Thug Kitchen for some wicked healthy recipes that are pretty simple, too.
6. Get some shut-eye
Sleep keeps you refreshed and helps your body recover from the hard work you did the previous day. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll be tired, irritable, and will make mistakes. Lack of sleep impacts your concentration, memory, judgement, and reaction time – and those things are all vital to doing a safe and good job. You need to nail that eight hours sleep every night.
Staying healthy on site will enable you to work a physical job for much longer, and make it more pleasant while you’re doing it. There’s no downside, so get stuck in. How are you staying healthy on site?
If you want to cut out the BS in your business and find out how you can get time back for going to the gym, heading out on the boat, or whatever else you enjoy, then sign up for Tradify now.