Lifestyle Changes for Construction Workers to Increase Productivity

Lifestyle Changes for Construction Workers to Increase Productivity

Construction work is physically demanding and puts workers in contact with dangerous machinery and equipment, putting their health and safety at greater risk than those who work in other industries. Unfortunately, the lifestyle that many construction workers lead is also not conducive to their health.

It is critical for construction workers to live healthy lives because it can not only help them avoid health hazards but can also help them be more productive and focused at work. Construction inefficiencies, such as time management, productivity, and workplace safety, can all become affected when construction workers are not healthy, happy, and focused.

This article will take a closer look at why construction work poses a health risk and how workers make lifestyle changes to protect their health and improve workplace efficiency and productivity levels.

Why Construction Workers Are at Greater Risk for Developing Health Issues

Public health issues like heart disease, diabetes, alcohol abuse, and obesity are common among individuals in the United States, no matter what industry they work in. Our society as a whole leads more fast-paced and stressful lives today than it used to, resulting in higher rates of illness and disease. The construction industry, however, can be even more physically and mentally demanding due to the dangers it poses, putting workers in this industry at a higher risk of developing health issues like those mentioned above.

Despite construction being a very rewarding career for many, it is considered one of the most dangerous professions. Not only are construction workers more likely to develop long-term health issues, fatality rates are also high as a result of workplace accidents. On a daily basis, construction workers find themselves in dangerous situations due to the nature of the job, such as working on roofs and scaffolding at extreme heights, operating heavy machinery, and using dangerous tools.

Construction work is also extremely physically demanding in addition to being dangerous, which can put significant amounts of stress on the body and the mind. And when construction workers’ bodies are stressed and fatigued from such demanding work, it can put them at greater risk of developing an illness or causing a work-related accident. This is why it is crucial for them to take care of their health and make certain lifestyle changes to mitigate health and safety risks.  

Ways Construction Workers Can Stay Healthy and Focused on the Job

While it is the job of employers to create a healthy and safe work environment for their workers, it is also the responsibility of the workers themselves to know when they need a break, when they need to eat, when they need water, and more.

The tips below can help construction workers improve their health and wellness both in and out of the workplace to help them avoid illness and mitigate workplace inefficiencies and accidents. 

Get Better Sleep

You’ve likely heard it before, but we’ll say it again: getting good sleep is essential to maintaining your health and having the energy and focus to get through your workday. Sleep deprivation and fatigue can severely affect your health, especially if you are sleep-deprived long term.

When you don’t get enough sleep, it can lead to weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, depression, inflammation, and more. This is because when you don’t get enough sleep, it can weaken your immune system and negatively impact other important processes in your body. Everything will essentially work more slowly or less efficiently when you consistently don’t get enough sleep, which can lead to all sorts of health problems.

Sleep deprivation also, of course, affects your mood and ability to focus and be productive, which is dangerous for construction workers. When working in such physically demanding and dangerous situations, you need to be alert and focused to avoid causing an accident and hurting yourself or others. You also won’t be as strong if you don’t get enough sleep, which can make it more difficult to tackle physically demanding tasks.

Drink More Water and Less Alcohol

Hydration is also crucial when working a physically demanding job. Everyone needs to drink a certain amount of water each day to keep their body hydrated, but construction workers especially need to drink water frequently throughout the day. Naturally, you sweat more when you are doing physically demanding labor or when you are working out in the sun, so you need to drink more water to compensate for the water you are losing when you sweat.

Similar to not getting enough sleep, being dehydrated can also slow down your body, make you more susceptible to illness, and make it harder to stay focused and be productive. Unfortunately, many construction workers get so distracted by their work throughout the day that they forget to stop and take water breaks.

So it’s important to break this habit and stay hydrated throughout the day to keep yourself safe and healthy. This also means cutting down on alcohol use. Alcohol not only dehydrates the body, but it can also affect your immune, circulatory, nervous, and digestive systems, which overall can diminish your health and make you more susceptible to illness and disease. This is not to say you necessarily need to stop drinking altogether, but it would be smart to prioritize water over alcohol on days or evenings before a work shift.

Stretch and Exercise Regularly

Though construction work itself is physically demanding, it’s still necessary to get regular exercise outside of work to keep your body in good shape. In fact, because construction work is so demanding, it is beneficial to exercise as regularly as possible because it will help give you more strength to more easily get your job done.

When you don’t exercise regularly to keep your strength up and improve your mobility, you are more likely to strain yourself at work, which can lead to long-term back, hip, and knee problems. Stretching is also important for this same reason. Because of the physical labor involved in construction work, it’s essential for your muscles to be both strong and flexible. The tighter your muscles are, the more strain it puts on your body, and the more likely you will be to tweak or tear something.

Eat Healthy, Smaller, Frequent Meals

Eating healthy and frequently is key when you work a physically demanding job. If you eat large meals, it can make you feel sluggish, which can make it harder to do your job. And if you don’t eat frequently enough, you might always feel hungry and not have the energy you need to get through your day.

Instead, focus on small, frequent meals throughout your day to adequately fuel your body and stay healthy. Smaller meals are easier to digest, and more frequent meals will help you avoid energy dips throughout the day. Understandably, this might be hard with construction work when you only have so many breaks. So try keeping healthy snacks on you that you can easily munch on throughout the day, like protein bars or little bags of nuts, fruits, veggies, or crackers.

Final Thoughts

When it comes down to successfully making these healthy lifestyle changes as a construction worker, it’s all about advocating for yourself and paying attention to what your body needs. If you need a break to grab a drink of water or a bite to eat, or to stretch your muscles out for a minute or two, ask.

And if you feel tired or weak while working, don’t just assume it’s because of the physical demands of the job; it could be because you didn’t get enough sleep, aren’t eating enough, or are dehydrated. So pay attention to what your body needs and provide it.

Author: Amanda Winstead is a freelance writer in the construction industry