Long hours, physically taxing and a drain on your work life balance; being a tradie is not all it’s cracked up to be, apart from the huge pay checks (new reports suggest tradies are more cashed up than lawyers). Find out our best health tips for tradies.
Getting serious about your health as a tradie translates to longevity and a more enjoyable and efficient day to day working experience.
Health Tips For Tradies – Fitness
Fitness for Tradies should revolve around 3 things:
- Flexibility and mobility based training exercises
- Short, sharp and medium to high-intensity cardio based training
- Wholesome and balanced diet
Most of the tradies we have met over the years are in deplorable physical condition. The two main reasons for this are a horrendous diet and complete unawareness of their bodies failings.
The diet problem is understandable. Most tradies rise very early, far too early for breakfast, they start with a coffee, suppressing hunger signals then eat some kind of food-like substance e.g. chips, sausage roll or a dim sim for ‘smoko’.
This provides very little nutrition, they work hard, do a similar thing for lunch, work hard some more and then go home in the afternoon. If their bodies are really unlucky, they’ll even get a dose of alcohol too. Just to complete the disaster.
The problem, in a nutshell, they’re running on adrenaline, there is not enough “good fuel” for them to run normally and eventually that will catch up with them.
The second problem, their physical condition, is part and parcel of the typical tradie psyche. Toughen up, she’ll be right=ignore your bodies pain signals and damage cartilage, tendons and bones. It’s true, tradies are tough but what is tough?
Is tough carrying on and ignoring something until it’s too late? We’re not sure but by the time most tradies seek treatment they’re a long way gone. Concreters seem to be the worse if we never see a concreter again it will be too soon.
Tradies assume because they’re so active they’re healthy but they’re not. The tasks they perform, like any occupation, are too repetitive. It’s like going to the gym and doing 10,000 bicep curls and assuming you’re doing something good for your body. You’re not.
You are creating repetitive strain, wearing down cartilage, fraying tendons and muscles, building limited strength while losing mobility and flexibility.
So what’s the answer?
First of all, stop treating your body like the DeLorean at the end of Back to the Future (you know the bit where Doc Brown pours rubbish into the fuel tank to get her going) and think about what you’re eating and how it is going to give you the energy you need for the day.
Flexibility and Mobility tips
- Do the twist – Starting rotating your body. Everything we do involves up and down back and forward motion but we need to keep rotating our bodies to. Throw a ball around, but not just in front of you, behind you with your left hand.
- Do everything you don’t do at work – If everything you do at work involves lifting heavy objects, don’t go the gym and lift heavy objects! Go to the park and throw a Frisbee around, go and do a yoga class, go and lift light objects in every direction but that which you lift things at work.
- Don’t build a bridge – The only reason we can see people doing planks for extended periods of time is that they have lots of kids that like to climb over them, and they want to be strong for that particular activity??? If you want to strengthen your core, balance on one foot throw a ball against the wall and catch it with your hands above your head, you’ll feel that in the abs the next day.
- Repetition is the mother of skill – that’s what they say but if you do the same thing often enough it’s going to break you. Add variability to your routine. A squat for example can be done 1 million ways. Think about it for a second. Change your foot position, toe in, toe out, stand wide, stand narrow, put a foot forward, a foot back, alternate.
Short, Sharp Cardio Based Workout
Short, sharp and high-intensity cardio based workouts are great for testing your lungs, stripping some extra KG’s, and they only take 20-30 minutes.
Incorporate things like boxing, rowing machine, indoor bike, basic kettlebells and bodyweight exercises.
What to Include In a Wholesome & Balanced Diet
Keeping things basic, a balanced diet should include a variety of the following things.
- Vegetables and legumes (beans)
- Grains and cereals
- Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes (beans) tofu, nuts, seeds
- Milk, cheese yoghurt
Foods are grouped together because they provide similar amounts of key nutrients.
For example, key nutrients of the milk, yoghurt, cheese and alternatives group include calcium and protein, while the fruit group is a good source of vitamins, especially vitamin C.
These food groups make up the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating – Plus you won’t get bored of the same old meals every day!
Then there are the occasional foods – It’s not rocket science, foods which we all know in some way or another are bad for us and should be consumed moderately at most.
You know what we’re talking about!
- Sweet biscuits, cakes, desserts and pastries
- Processed meats and fattier/salty sausages, savoury pastries and pies, commercial burgers with a high fat and/or salt content
- Ice cream and other ice confections
- Confectionery and chocolate
- Potato chips, crisps and other fatty and/or salty snack foods including some savoury biscuits
- Cream, butter and spreads which are high in saturated fats
Sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, sports and energy drinks and alcoholic drinks.
We recommend that you consult with a dietician and a physical therapist before you start on any lifestyle changing routines. For more information on general health and wellbeing or to book an appointment, contact us on (03) 9369 9766.