Working on a construction site demands mental and physical strength. Every day involves various activities, such as lifting and transporting heavy building materials, which leave you drained. Furthermore, construction activities such as cutting objects and using tools need precision and skill, causing mental strain.
Given the tough nature of working on a construction site, workers burn around 150-200 calories while performing light-intensity construction activities such as sharpening tools. However, as their work intensity increases and they engage in activities like driving heavy machinery, they can often burn as much as 500 calories per hour.
For these reasons, construction workers must look after their health to stay fit and avoid overexerting their bodies. Ignoring their physical and mental health needs can cause chronic exhaustion and fatigue. On the contrary, staying healthy can enhance their attentiveness and ensure better performance and productivity at work.
Some ways construction workers can ensure their health are given below.
1. Use proper protective equipment
A construction environment is plagued with health and safety hazards such as exposure to dust, chemical fumes, and minerals like asbestos. Therefore, using proper protective equipment on the construction site is the first step to defending your health.
Asbestos exposure, which can cause serious medical conditions such as mesothelioma (a serious lung disease), is the most serious. Although asbestos is no longer used in construction materials, workers can still be exposed to it when working on old buildings constructed between 1930 and 1980.
If you work on a construction site, you must be aware of the symptoms and prognosis of mesothelioma. The common symptoms include chronic coughing, chest pain, and tightness in the chest. As for prognosis varies from person to person; therefore, it is better to consult a specialist.
The protective equipment you can wear to protect yourself from health hazards present on construction sites are
- Disposable gloves
- Respiratory protectors to filter out microscopic asbestos fibers
- Safety goggles and boot covers
- Disposable full-body coveralls
In addition to this, you also need proper training to keep yourself safe while working on a construction site. If you are careless about your health and safety, even high-grade protective equipment may fail to provide you full protection.
2. Start your day with a nutritious breakfast
Starting your day with a nutritious breakfast gives your body the required boost to function optimally throughout the day. After a whole night of sleep, your body’s nutritional reserves are generally low. Eating a healthy breakfast kickstarts your metabolism, providing the necessary fuel to go through the day’s mental and physical demands.
Eating a healthy breakfast provides various other benefits, including those mentioned below.
- A healthy breakfast increases concentration, memory retention, and other cognitive functions. It ensures your brain receives the nutrients it requires to function efficiently and fulfill work demands.
- Starting your day with a nutritious breakfast prevents you from unhealthy snacking by regulating your appetite.
- Eating a healthy breakfast prevents a drop in your blood sugar level while working, which can happen when you don’t eat for too long.
- Hunger can also make you cranky and lose interest in your work. On the other hand, eating a wholesome breakfast consisting of eggs, bananas, dried nuts, etc., reduces irritability and promotes a more stable emotional state.
3. Don’t forget to take healthy snacks along
Taking healthy snacks with you when working on a construction site is essential, even if you have eaten a healthy breakfast in the morning. Given the number of calories you likely burn while working, your breakfast becomes a distant memory in just a few hours. When you eat nothing long, your energy levels most likely drop, clouding your judgment and concentration.
When choosing snacks, choose nutrient-dense options such as fruits, nuts, and veggies. Go for snacks that are easy to carry and do not require keeping them in a refrigerator or elaborate preparation.
Ensure your snacks don’t have excessive sugar and healthy fats. Such snacks can cause a sudden spike in energy levels, followed by a quick drop, leaving you tired and sluggish.
4. Bring homemade lunch
In the buzz of construction sites and tight deadlines, skipping meals seems the easiest option. If you make time for lunch, preparing a healthy meal on-site is never an option. Stopping at a food truck to grab a sandwich looks more practical and convenient, but it is not the healthiest option.
The best way to eat a healthy and hearty lunch is to bring your lunch. Pack your lunchbox with tasty wholegrain bread sandwiches containing crispy veggies and fruits. You can even bring a small treat to satisfy your sweet tooth.
By bringing a homemade lunch, you can track what you eat, ensuring your food includes essential nutrients (vitamins, minerals, proteins, etc.)
Bringing your lunch will not only positively impact your body, but you’ll also save some hard-earned cash. The food you find on trucks or other food sites is also limited in options and pricey. Therefore, bringing a homemade lunch can reduce your lunchtime food cost.
5. Exercise every day
Construction workers perform similar activities, such as cutting and fixing material while sitting or standing in the same position for hours. Furthermore, working on a construction site requires stamina, agility, and mental focus.
Stretching your body through a morning workout can wake up your muscles and joints, preparing them for the challenges. The more you include various physical activities in your workout routine, the better you become at your craft by refining your technique.
Besides the physical gains of working out, there are mental health benefits too. Exercise bestows you with mental fortitude and a can-do attitude. This mindset encourages you to take on any task—no matter how tough – and conquer it with determination and skill.
And here is the ultimate benefit—exercise is known for its stress-busting ability. The bustle of a construction site and adherence to quality standards can stress you. The endorphins released during daily workouts keep you cool under pressure. Improving mood helps you see positivity in a whirlwind of activity.
The construction environment is laden with health hazards–from exposure to harmful chemicals and substances to skipping meals, you will have many chances to ruin your health. While there are ways to ignore your health, there are ample ways to care for your health as a construction worker. Some of those ways are mentioned above; you can help yourself with them to stay healthy and continue performing well.