Staying healthy on the job – 7 tips for tradies
When you’re working long hours in the heat of a hot Aussie summer, if you don’t look after yourself, you could end up in a bad way. But staying healthy doesn’t have to be a drag – and you don’t need a strict diet or exercise regime to keep yourself in good shape. Here’s a few simple, no-fuss tips with maximum return, that even the busiest of tradies can fit in to their daily schedule.
1. Take Breaks
It sounds obvious, but how many times have you skipped lunch or a tea-break because you felt too busy, and needed to get the job done? I bet the answer is plenty – but the fact is if you push on and don’t take a break to recharge, chances are your energy levels will drop and your concentration won’t be what it should be. In this state, you’re more likely to make mistakes which will set you back even further – so put the tools down and have a break.
2. Wear Sunscreen
This should be a no-brainer, but there are still plenty of tradies out there who think a tan comes with the territory. Unfortunately, if you skip the sunscreen you’re likely to get more than a tan – approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70. It’s not just the hot, sunny days you need to worry about, as sunburn can happen on overcast days too. So be smart and cover up when you’re working outdoors.
3. Stay Hydrated
If it’s hot, keep up the fluids – and when we say fluids, we mean water. Although a nice cold soft drink – or beer at the end of the day – is refreshing and can cool you down, it won’t go far in keeping you hydrated. For that you need water, so be prepared and keep a big bottle or two with you at all times, especially when it’s hot. And it’s a good idea to cut back on (or cut out completely) energy drinks as they have some serious side effects, including dehydration.
4. Smart Lifting
I’m sure you’ve heard this before – when you’re lifting, lift smart! Unfortunately, the message still doesn’t seem to be getting across, as one in three injuries to Australian workers are caused by manual handling. So, identify any hazardous situations, and reduce or eliminate the risk before you lift. Protect your back and never attempt to carry anything that’s too heavy – don’t be shy about asking for a hand if you need it!
5. Exercise Outside Work
Many tradies assume that because they have a physical job, there’s no need to exercise outside of working hours. While you do burn more calories and build more muscles than someone who works behind a desk from 9-5, it’s still recommended that you include some regular exercise outside work to stay fit and healthy. It’s great for your mind and body, and certain types of exercise, such as swimming or Pilates, can also prevent injuries.
6. Eat Well
You are what you eat still holds true, so skip the takeaway and pack a healthy lunch. When you eat nourishing food, you’ll have more energy and feel better – no more mid-afternoon slump after a heavy meal. Healthy food doesn’t need to be boring, these days there’s a bunch of quick and easy healthy meal options available from the supermarket. But if the thought of giving up pies and chips is just too depressing, don’t panic – you can still treat yourself, just make a habit of eating healthy meals more often than not, and build from there.
7. Sleep Well
Getting enough sleep will benefit you in many ways – it repairs your body and refreshes your mind. On the other hand, lack of sleep can be bad news for tradies. Some of the symptoms are obvious, like fatigue and bad moods, but not getting enough sleep can also result in poor concentration and memory, impaired judgement and reaction time, and poor physical coordination. All of which are bad news on the worksite, and can result in stuff-ups and injuries. Aim for eight hours sleep most nights, and you’ll be much better for it.
Being a tradie is hard work – and if you don’t look after yourself, you’re likely to get sick and injured a hell of a lot more. When you’re healthy and feel good, everything is just that little bit easier – so follow the tips above, and give yourself some TLC on the odd occasion!
This article was contributed by Toolbox Australia, where you can buy electrician’s tools online and find helpful resources for growing your trade business.