Exercising Right for Work for Males

In Australia, there are over 13 million workers, with 56% of them being male. Although 30% of the workforce is made up by tradies, this sector represents 58% of serious claims for worker’s compensation. The most common injuries for tradies include traumatic joint injuries, wounds/lacerations, musculoskeletal disorders, and fractures.

Furthermore, additional risk factors such as poor diet associated with early morning starts, long hours of work and limited food options are a significant contributor to a tradie’s health at work.

Weight gain, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes are the most common cardiovascular complications observed amongst trade workers, and although some of the workers are very physically active within their jobs, others are extremely sedentary by operating machinery for long hours at a time or working in an office.

The most common injuries for working men (both blue and white collar) are:

      • Traumatic joint, ligament and muscle and/or tendon injury
      • Wounds, lacerations, amputations, and internal organ damage
      • Musculoskeletal and connective tissue diseases

Given the high cost of worker’s compensation claims associated with the male work-related injuries, programs focused on injury prevention have become significantly more important.

The benefits of exercise

It is easy to assume that if your job is physically active, you do not require any further exercise during the day. This misconception is believed by many, and it is important to explain that different exercises elicit different results within the body.

Whilst being active at work is very important and beneficial, planned moderate/high intensity exercises are fundamental in order to:

      • Reduce stress levels
      • Keep muscles and joints healthy
      • Manage your cardiovascular risk factors

If you have a physically demanding job, exercises focusing on muscle strengthening are recommended. Resistance training (weights) will improve your muscle and bone strength, reducing your risk of sustaining musculoskeletal injury at work.

If you have a sedentary job, focusing more on your cardiovascular exercises (such as walking, running, riding a bike, rowing, etc.) is more important. However, a mix of cardiovascular exercises and resistance training is the ideal recipe for optimum injury prevention amongst white collar workers.

Types of exercise recommended

To get the most benefit from exercise right for work, it is important to tailor the exercises to the duties you perform in the workplace.

For example:

    • If you work as a tradesman using primarily your upper body (lifting, carrying, using power tools, etc.), exercises aimed at upper body strengthening should be considered.
    • If you are an office worker who is sitting for most of your day, exercises aimed at your core and legs will be more beneficial.

Matching the exercises with the functionality of it is fundamental to successfully maintaining your body healthy at work.


This latest eBook by Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) has been designed to encourage Australian men to become more active for their physical and mental health. It also covers the benefits of exercise for a wide range of common conditions adult men may encounter.


An Accredited Exercise Scientist (AES) or an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) can assist you with identifying suitable exercises that you can do in your own preferred environment, being a gym, home, park or even at work. They can help you with tailoring the exercises to your capacity and intended goals, giving you a unique exercise program that you truly enjoy.

An AEP is also qualified to provide service to anyone with a chronic medical condition, injury, or disability therefore, you can be sure that you are being looked after by a professional that is specialised in providing safe and effective treatment to anyone.

Click here to find an ESSA accredited exercise professional near you.

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Written by Aline Patrick, Accredited Exercise Physiologist at Pro Fit Rehab; in collaboration with Sam Rooney, Accredited Exercise Physiologist at Pro Fit Rehab