Caring for our bodies is critical in creating and maintaining a successful construction career. This doesn’t mean you need to be a champion weight lifter or an Olympic athlete, but success involves taking care of your primary asset – your body.
According to the National Safety Council, physical overexertion is the most common cause of workers’ compensation claims. Repetitive motions such as typing, lifting heavy objects or working in awkward positions usually cause these injuries. The overexertion pain is often acute, but it will decrease after medical care and preventative measures to prevent further injury. Constant overexertion can result in chronic pain, leading to problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome and osteoarthritis.
You can avoid physical overexertion by:
- Using ergonomic workspaces. This will ensure that you use materials and tools in a way that minimizes stress on your body as you work.
- Lifting lighter loads. Reduce the actual amount of weight you are lifting, or use a dolly or mechanical means of lifting.
- Decreasing the distance you stretch to lift a heavy object. You may be tempted to overstretch when tools are just out of reach. This can also lead to falls.
- Strength training and stretching. Many resist the idea of stretching before work, but statistics prove that this is an excellent way to avoid an overexertion injury.
- Knowing and respecting your body’s limits. This is key to avoiding injuring yourself as you work.
Other important factors linked to overexertion include:
Burning the candle at both ends is an unsustainable and unhealthy way to live. Sleep is essential to your health; it allows the mind and body to heal and recharge after dealing with the previous day’s stress.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and Dehydration
Did you ever have such a busy day that you forgot to eat or drink enough water? This can contribute to your health risk, particularly if you are overexerting yourself. Hypoglycemia and dehydration can have serious health implications.