Although they continue to encounter inequality, the number of working women is on the rise. Today, you can see women taking over jobs that have traditionally been the field of men. From women truck drivers to women workers in material handling and heavy industry, the gender gap is closing fast.
However, working in a labour-intensive industry is easier said than done. It requires physical as well as mental strength to work in a physically demanding environment. Women need to take extra care if they want to pursue a successful career in male-dominated sectors.
Here are a few health tips for women working in heavy industries like material handling, manufacturing, or construction.
Understand the Factors Responsible for Injury
All physically demanding jobs, whether it is construction work or material handling, involve pushing, pulling, lifting, carrying, and holding heavy objects. All these activities make you vulnerable to different types of soft-tissue injuries such as muscle pulling or slip discs. While some of these injuries may occur suddenly, others can develop over time.
You should take proper precautions to avoid such injuries. The first step is to identify and fix the potential factors responsible for these injuries. For example, when you are lifting heavy loads manually, you may need to consider the following factors.
- What will be the frequency of lifting and the duration of your activity?
- Will you be using a mechanical device like a morbar spreader bar or a manual crane at some point?
- What is the force required for lifting?
- What will be your posture or movement during the lifting? Will you bend down or twist your wrists?
Take all these factors into account before engaging in the activity. It will help you minimize the risk of injuries.
Keep Your Posture Natural
Once you have understood the potential injury risks, you can take the necessary steps to avoid or mitigate them. The best way to avoid injuries is to maintain your natural body posture.
- Don’t bend or twist your wrists while lifting.
- Your spinal cord must be aligned to its natural shape while standing.
- Propping up one foot on a stool can help reduce back pain if you have to stand for hours.
- Keep your body flexible to avoid soft tissue injuries and fatigue.
- Keep your forearms and thighs parallel to the floor if your job involves seating.
Talk to your manager if you experience pain or discomfort while working. You should consult the on-site physician immediately if required.
Perform Ergonomic Exercise
Before your shift begins, try to perform ergonomic exercises. These exercises can help you prevent Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Ergonomic exercises also help improve your muscle tone, posture, and reduce existing body pain.
- The simplest exercise is to perform stretches before your shift begins and even during short breaks if necessary.
- At home, you can do chest flies with hand weights or dumbbells to strengthen your chest and upper back muscles.
- Lateral raises and moving your arms in big circles will strengthen your shoulders.
- Pushups can help you build your chest, arms, and shoulder muscles.
You can perform this exercise at home or at your workplace if possible. Make it a point to exercise regularly. You can plan your daily routine accordingly.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
Up to 60% of the human adult body is water. In other words, water does play a critical role in keeping your body functional. It regulates your internal body temperature and also lubricates your joints.
Usually, you can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever you feel thirsty. However, working a physically demanding job requires you to drink water more diligently. Physical work can often lead to faster dehydration.
Health authorities commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon. One easy way to check if you are dehydrated is to see the colour of your urine. If it is darker than usual, you are dehydrated and need to replenish yourself with water immediately.
Alternatively, you can also drink on a schedule. You can set up reminders to take water breaks during your shift. If it is possible, you can carry a water bottle to your station. If not, stepping away from your work station would be a nice change for you.
Always Eat Healthy Food
Eating healthy food is as important as keeping yourself hydrated. Usually, most people start their day off with a light breakfast, heavy lunch, and a hearty dinner. However, healthy eating requires you to do the exact opposite.
You need to start your day off with a hearty breakfast and end it with a light dinner. While doing that, however, you need to limit your bad carbohydrate intake. You should avoid consuming sugar or potatoes. Instead, start eating good carbs such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, and beans.
You should also increase the protein intake as much as possible. Protein helps build your muscle tissue. So, you need to eat fish, chicken, lean beef, tofu, beans, and lentils. Don’t forget to include non-starchy vegetables such as bean sprouts, asparagus, carrots, celery, and tomatoes with every meal.
Avoid eating frozen and processed food. Eat fresh veggies and protein as far as possible. Don’t drink carbonated drinks like coke and sodas. But most importantly, don’t skip a meal. Working a physically demanding job on an empty stomach can not only put your life at risk but also others.
Being a woman shouldn’t stop you from pursuing a career in physically demanding industries like manufacturing, material handling, or oil and gas. However, you do need to maintain excellent physical and mental health to succeed. Hopefully, the health tips offered in this post will help you tread your path successfully. If you like these tips spread the word around to help your fellow women professionals.
Vernon Glick is a passionate writer & blogger by profession. He has started delivering unique and high-quality content related to health. He keeps exploring the web and loves to do in-depth research when things come to writing. He loves to hang out with family and friends and indulges in nature photography.