How Staying Fit Outside of the Workplace Can Keep You Safer at Work

Life gets busy. Some people make time for working out, others don’t. When you work 40 hours a week, have household duties on the weekends, and children with extracurricular activities, you probably find that your schedule is full, with little room for much else, let alone finding time to exercise. While it’s often hard to squeeze in time at the gym, you may want to make a little room on your calendar, particularly if you work at a high risk job where you are more likely to be injured at work. Believe it or not, staying in shape can make your overall performance, at work, better.

Injured on the Job

Whether you sit at a desk all day, crunching numbers, or work on scaffolding at a construction site, anyone in the workforce is a risk for being injured at work, some more than others. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2015, there were an estimated 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported in the private sector and over 30% of these accidents required days away from work. Some of the most commonly reported injuries include sprains, strains, and tears and injuries sustained in slip, trip, and fall accidents.

Although places of employment are responsible for having safety plans and procedures implemented for all employees, employees have a certain level of responsibility for keeping themselves safer. One way to reduce injury is by having a stronger and healthier body.

How Getting Fit and Staying in Shape Can Improve Your Day at Work

Even if you are employed by a company that encourages taking fitness breaks throughout the day, such as group stretches or walks, you can still benefit from taking time to exercise outside out of the workplace. Everyone knows that exercising can improve your overall quality of life; the Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week.

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Here are some ways that regular exercise can directly benefit a person in his or her workplace:

Boost Mood: Regular exercise can make you happier and reduce your chances of depression, anxiety, stress, and even Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). When you are happier, you are more likely to perform better at work and have more positive experiences. Employees, who are unhappy and dissatisfied, are at a greater risk of caring less about following safety practices in the workplace (thus increasing their risk of injuring).

Building Strength: If you work at a high risk job, like construction or transportation where you may work with heavy and bulky equipment, it’s important to have good core strength to reduce your risk of preventable injuries to the back and other ligaments.

Improve Coordination: Good coordination can keep us from tripping and falling, which can lead to serious and even fatal injuries in the workplace. Coordination is also crucial for a variety of tasks such as operating dangerous machinery.

Improve Sleep: In addition to improving your mood and overall health, regular exercise can be beneficial to your sleep. Workplace injuries are likely to occur when employees are sleep deprived, but can be easily prevented by making sure to get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night and staying fit can help you achieve that sleep goal.