Tradies: Tough or Terrible?
There are many aspects of a tradespersons’ job that puts extra wear and tear on the body. Take it from me, the wife of a "terrible" tradie (He's really very good, he does have a hard time listening to his chiropractor wife telling him to stretch and lift properly all the time though). Many people are either unaware or think its “tough” to work through muscle and joint pain associated with physical work. If you or a loved one work in a physically demanding job have a quick read of this blog for a few simple tips on how to reduce the strain on your body.
It’s very rare to see an old tradesman that’s still on the tools; and even rarer for them to be pain free. It’s almost guaranteed they would tell you if they could go back in time they would work differently, work safer and certainly work smarter.
There are many “smart” ways of getting the tough jobs done and often it can be as simple as taking a minute to assess the situation and making the right decision. Cutting a corner and carrying 3 bags of concrete may seem like a great idea at the time; but 30 years later when the chronic pain sets in you will realise it was not worth it!
So what are some things we can do to keep our bodies going for many years to come?
-Listen to the lifting guidelines; they may seem over the top but they are the standard for a reason!
-You would stretch for a footy game so why not do a quick 2 minute warm up at the start of the day.
-Use the right safety gear for the job. Yes that means gloves , safety glasses, knee pads, ear protection etc you may not feel the pain at the time, but you will certainly feel 30 years worth of it.
-Invest in the right tools for the job. If you are doing something all the time invest in a good shovel or the right boots.
-A decent tool belt with a nice wide strap; or even better a tool belt with a built in back brace. These are amazing for the carpenters out there. Its shocking by the time you load up your sack with a couple handfuls of screws, hammer, impact gun and the rest a nail bag can easily weigh 10 kg.
-Drink plenty of water; at least 2 litres a day. If you are working outside in summer make sure you double this number (at least).
-Take supplements as needed. Especially as it starts warming up keep on top of your electrolytes and magnesium levels, particularly if you are susceptible to muscle cramps.
-Find some form of exercise to keep things balanced. It may be going for a walk or doing a little yoga (highly recommended for getting your flexibility back).
-If something hurts: fix it, seek the right help, take initiative in your health and consider your future.
It may seem daunting and all just a little too hard to take care of yourself; and yes maybe you might get a ribbing from the boys but you don’t want to be an aching mess by the age of 50. Remember; as the retirement age is getting older we need to take care of ourselves for the future.