25 May Why you need to exercise right for your occupation
Work. It’s a fact of life that we can’t avoid. We spend years working in one occupation which can have massive effects on our health and well being.
Whether you love or hate your job, we need to step back and look at how changes our body and mind and why we need to exercise right for our circumstances.
Why it’s important to Exercise Right at work
A variety of jobs involve a range of repetitive movements, static postures and/or increase sedentary time which can have devastating effects on the health and well-being of employees:
Repetitive movements refer to work that requires the same muscle groups to be used over and over again during the working day, or for prolonged periods. Rapid and/or prolonged repetition may not allow sufficient time for recovery and can cause muscle fatigue due to depletion of energy and a build-up of metabolic waste materials.
Static postures occur when a part of the body is held in a particular position for extended periods of time. Static loading restricts blood flow to the muscles and tendons etc., resulting in less opportunity for recovery and metabolic waste removal.
Excess sedentary time refers to sitting for long periods of time within a limited range of movement. Australian statistics show that 68.5% of the workforce are either sedentary of have very low levels of activity. Essentially, we go to work and sit for eight hours and that fact is having serious effects on our health. Studies have shown that sitting too much—even among people who exercise regularly—led to higher rates of hospitalization, heart disease and cancer, as well as early death.
Exercise Right’s top tips for exercising right for your occupation
You’re biggest issue with working in an office is that fact that you are mainly sitting, for sometimes, up to 7 hours a day. Australian statistics actually show that 68.5% of the workforce have either sedentary of very low levels of activity. By being immobile for that long it can lead to a number of health conditions such as reduced heart health, high blood pressure, increased weight and a lack of mobility. Sitting can also increase your back, shoulder and arm issues.
Exercise Right recommends: You move as much as you can during the day – this means walking meetings, stand up desks, lunch time walks, talking to colleagues rather than emailing. After work try and include some high intensity exercise that gets the heart pumping.
Farming, Agriculture & Mining
If you work in the Farming, Agriculture & Mining industries you will be faced with working long and very labour intensive hours where you are taking on some serious manual labour. On the plus side this can mean you are building up parts of your body, but are you considering all aspects of your body? Statistics show that the average male farmer aged between 25 to 74 years old has a higher death rate from conditions such as coronary artery disease, respiratory problems and mental health issues.
Exercise Right recommends: You include aerobic and strength sessions at least two times a week for a minimum of 45-60 minutes. We also highly recommend stretching to keep the body limber and ready for all your manual work.
Healthcare & Aged Care
Nurses, doctors and general health staff work in an industry that has huge demands on the body – mentally and physically. You work long shift work which means you body is having to fight fatigue, so physical activity sometimes gets forgotten. Lack of sleep can lead to an increase of the stress hormone “cortisol” and can lead to effects such as obesity. You also need to consider the fact that you are on your feet all day, usually pushing, carrying and pulling heavy loads.
Exercise Right recommends: Take the time to plan your life and schedule in some regular exercise – remember, little and often is better than none at all! Every little movement helps so strap on a tracking monitor and make sure you do a minimum of 10,000 steps and fit in some stretches and exercises during your shift. Calf raises while the kettle boils? Squats in the lift? Give it a go!
Hospitality & Tourism
Long days, long nights, run off your feet…that should sound familiar to you! In this fast-paced, stressful industry, the long and irregular hours mean your body, and health, usually suffer. There is a huge amount of strain put on the body (and mind) which can lead to musculoskeletal problems such as sprains and strains and affect areas such as your back and knees. A lack of sleep can also lead to follow on affects such as increased stress and increased weight gain.
Exercise Right recommends: Your plan yours days to include some time to improve your levels of physical activity. Stretching and working on the strength of your core are hugely important, as well as taking on some outdoor activities (jogging, bike riding, hiking) to give you some “you” time where you can focus on yourself.
Sales, Retail & Customer Service
On your feet all day, putting a big smile on your face can be exhausting work right? When you work in Sales, Retail & Customer Service you can feel like you’ve covered miles during the day? Funnily enough, we find that most people who work in this industry are on their feet but it’s only over a few square feet. This means you aren’t getting your recommend 10,000 steps a day but you are putting a lot of strain on the body and the mind with this intense work. If you work in this industry you are more likely to live with fatigue and musculoskeletal issues likes sprains, strains and back/knee issues.
Exercise Right recommends: Little and often! Small things like a walk on your break, simple stretches when you are behind the counter or in the storeroom as well as working on your knees and hips will go a long way to keeping the body ready to handle the long periods of standing.
Education & Training
When you’re a teacher or trainer you spend all day shaping the future of others but what about your own health? You work in a stressful situation which also includes prolonged static postures and repetitive movements such as typing and marking papers. These can all impact your body in a negative way which means it’s even more important to keep moving.
Exercise Right recommends: Change up your posture and movements throughout the day. Eat your lunch away from the desk, park you car further away and walk during breaks – every little helps. Also make sure you try and schedule regular 30 minute blocks of aerobic exercise either before or after work.
Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics
Movement in all these industries may vary but you all face a unique set of conditions and challenges which can affect your health. From repetitive movements in manufacturing to prolong sitting for transport personnel – you all need to take notice of your health. A survey has shown that these industries included an ageing workforce where 46% are aged over 45, which can lead to great injuries and illness.
Exercise Right recommends: Finding the right time to get moving. It is so important to remember that you need to value your body and keep it healthy – you need to plan 30 to 45 minutes breaks where you can include some aerobic exercise, this means finding something that will make you “huff and puff”. We would also suggest you include stretching sessions whenever you can.
Construction and Trades
When you talk to people in the Construction & Trades industry they will tell you that they have very active lifestyles, which they do! Yet there are a number of other things to consider – lower back pain, working long hours which can lead to significant pressure on the body and the psychological stress that your work can produce.
Exercise Right recommends: You need to constantly work on your muscle endurance to make sure you steer clear of injuries – you are using your body a lot so get it in tip top condition. We would also recommends you include a stretching session to help areas like your back and also don’t forget to give your body a rest regularly!
Those not currently in an occupation! We haven’t forgotten you!
If you are not in a job, sometimes you can face a difficult task keeping physically active and mentally sharp. Job hunting can have a huge emotional toil on you, so use your free time to look after your body and use exercise to give you brain a boost!
Exercise Right recommends: Get outdoors and get moving, it’s free, easy and convenient. Walk, run, bike ride, hike…whatever you enjoy, do it! Remember to create a plan and stick to it, routine is very important!
Studying for your future can be stressful and challenging. You spend hours sitting either listening to lecturers, ready books or typing out assignments, couple this with usually poor nutrition and your body really can suffer. You must not neglect your physical and mental needs.
Exercise Right recommends: You reduce your sedentary time (i.e. sitting), get outdoors and move – the harder and faster you move the better for your body and for mental clarity. Seek out cheap ways to move, even lifting your heavy workbooks can help!
So you’ve left the workplace and enjoying some well deserved rest? Well this can also lead to an increase in poor physical health. Just because you aren’t working means you can let your body retire too! You will be at an age where you are more susceptible to chronic illness and injuries so it’s important to focus on your body and mind.
Exercise Right recommends: As you now have lots of time on your hands, why not seek out new hobbies in a group setting? Exercise with a group not only keeps your mentally sharp and helps you meet new people but will also boost that body. Remember if you do live with a condition or injury consult an Accredited Exercise Physiologist before undertaken any intense exercise.