5 Ways To Look After Your Physical Health When Working In Construction

5 Ways To Look After Your Physical Health When Working In Construction

5 Ways To Look After Your Physical Health When Working In Construction

SC4 Carpenters - 14-Jun-2023

Looking after your body when working in construction is one of the most important things you can do. After all, your body is your most important tool in the day-to-day. Long working hours, heavy lifting, and exposure to the elements can all take a toll on your well-being. Here are five ways you can look after your body and physical health while on or off the job:

1. Remember to take breaks and stay well-rested

Working long hours on a construction site can be physically and mentally taxing; constant activity, use of power tools, and heavy lifting put a strain on your muscles and joints, so resting often, even for a few minutes, and getting a good night’s sleep, will give your body time to recover and prevent injuries.

2. Eat healthily and drink often

Eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated is essential to your health, especially when working in construction. Be sure to pack healthy snacks and meals that provide you with the necessary nutrients to keep you energised throughout the day. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially water, to keep yourself hydrated. Now when we say fluids, we mean water or non-sugary drinks, not carbonated drinks or alcohol. Having a beer at the end of the day is okay in moderation, but excessive drinking can take a toll on your body and brain. Eating healthily is a given, keeping the correct nutrients powering you through the day.

3. Exercise

Construction work is a very physical job, but that doesn't mean you should skip your gym routine or neglect your daily exercise. Regular balanced exercise helps you maintain your strength, flexibility, and stamina - all essential attributes to stay healthy in construction. You may feel like you’re exercising on the job constantly, but if you compare your job to a day in the gym, you’re doing all weights and little to no cardio. Try to incorporate basic exercises and stretching into your daily routine during your shift to keep your muscles limber and prevent injury.

Outside of work, keep fit by playing a sport you enjoy, going jogging, swimming or hiking. This will also help your mental health too as it gets endorphins pumping.

4. Keep listening to your body and the people around you

It is essential to keep an eye on the signs that your body is giving you. If you experience pain or discomfort, it is crucial to take a break and get help if needed. Also, make sure to listen to the people around you – if they notice you experiencing difficulty or pain, they can provide essential support and help. Remember, teamwork is a critical feature of construction work, and you're not alone in this.

Make sure you’re remembering how to lift properly too, so you’re not causing excessive strain on your back, shoulders and arms. Stretch often between lifting to ready your muscles, and listen to your body when it needs to rest.

5. Take time to look after your mental health - body and mind.

Working in construction can be stressful mentally and emotionally, leading to health issues such as anxiety, stress, and depression, among others. Take time to rest, relax, and practice self-care; it can be as simple as taking a walk or doing a favourite hobby. Additionally, seeking professional help when you feel necessary can genuinely transform your life and help you stay mentally and emotionally healthy. Mental and physical health are our most important assets, and if you’re looking after one but not the other, you can still injure yourself, even if you’re doing all the right things to keep your body as fit as possible. Practice mindfulness, take time for yourself and do things that you enjoy out of work, and don’t forget to communicate with your loved ones, workmates or supervisors.

Where to turn for support

If you are struggling physically, emotionally or financially, ask for help from your team, or charities such as the Construction Industry Helpline.

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