Workers within the Farming, Agriculture and Mining sectors all come with a variety of different skillsets, but one thing they all have in common is their need for a well-functioning, healthy body to complete their work.
For Farmers and Miners, the work is heavy and awkward, and can involve working long hours. The work locations are also remote – often taking place in rural communities.
The physical pressures put on the body in this line of work exposes the joints, spine and nervous system to a lot of stressors. Typically this sector is prone to musculoskeletal injuries resulting from forceful or repetitive lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling.
These occupations also come with a degree of mental stress – finding the next contracting job and the threat of drought or environmental disasters.
A study conducted by The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that when compared with people living in major cities and inner regional areas, people living in outer regional, rural and remote areas were more likely to engage in high risk behaviours.
When compared with the average Australian male aged 25 to 74, male farmers and farm managers experience higher death rates from:
Exercise can decrease the incidence of musculoskeletal injury associated with your job role. Participating in a work specific conditioning program will assist you in decreasing the likelihood of musculoskeletal injury, and can also have a positive effect on mental health and stress management.
Exercise Right recommends participating in a resistance training program either at your workplace, at a local gymnasium, or at your home developed alongside an Exercise Physiologist.
Participate in aerobic and resistance training at least 2 times per week for a minimum of 45-60 minutes. It is advised you consult an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to tailor your exercise program to your work-specifics tasks.
It is recommended for you to complete simple set of exercises and stretches prior to each shift.
The idea of stretching before, during and after work seems quite foreign to most. However, when you consider the duration and intensity of the physical work required each day it makes sense to schedule it into your regime. For information on how to best stretch and the areas of muscle to focus on, speak to your Accredited Exercise Physiologist.
Use proper technique when bending or lifting
A no-brainer, but something people quickly become complacent about. Spend the extra time to lift safely so that you avoid the pain of injury and forced time away from work.
Give your body a break to avoid injury
When performing a repetitive physical task at work, have regular breaks to allow your body rest and recovery time.
Onsite exercise programs
Participate in an onsite work-specific strength and conditioning program. Not only will work and exercise with your colleagues, you’ll start working towards a collective goal ‘Get fit for work’. Like athletes, you must also be conditioned for the job you do. Start a resistance training program that is tailored to correcting posture, increasing strength and decreasing muscular imbalances that could lead to an injury. Time to be an occupational athlete!
Find a time to exercise that you can make consistent
Aim to exercise at a time you can consistently complete your program each day. Consistency is the key!
Consult an accredited exercise professional
An Accredited Exercise Physiologist can prescribe a specific exercise program tailored to the demands of your job role i.e. repetitive lifting and also provide you with an overview of appropriate manual handling techniques.