Ergonomic risk factors arise when work tasks do not fit or exceed the capabilities of the worker. I have written about how to change the physical work environment and tasks, but what can you do to increase your capabilities as a worker? You should be able to work an 8-hour day without being extremely fatigued and without too much discomfort. If this does not sound like your workday, consider making some changes:
3. Nutrition –
Fueling your body regularly with good quality food is a big must to keep you energized throughout your work day. Like a car, if you don’t refuel when the gas tank is empty, the car won’t run. If you don’t refuel your body with food, it won’t run either. You will feel sluggish and tired, putting your body at the risk of injury.
First off, you need to start your day with breakfast because your gas tank is empty after no food all night. Aim to cover all four food groups (milk and dairy, meat and protein, fruit and vegetables, and grains). Peanut butter and banana on whole wheat toast with milk is a great breakfast. Also, whole grain cereal with nuts, milk, and berries is another good start.
Put aside the antiquated notion of three square meals a day. Your body needs fuel every 3-4 hours. Mid-morning and late afternoon snacks help bridge the gap to lunch and dinner. Fruit, nuts, whole grain crackers, hard boiled eggs, raw veggies with hummus, yogurt – all great snack food. If you are trying to count calories, make sure your lunch and dinners are smaller to compensate for the snacks. It’s better to eat small, frequent meals rather than big, spaced-out meals so that your blood sugar levels don’t get low triggering fatigue.
And most importantly, make sure your food is good quality. White bread doesn’t have as many nutrients or the fiber of whole grain bread. Yogurt and granola bars with lots of sugar will give you an initial energy boost, but then you will “crash” (feel tired and lethargic) which can last several hours as your body works at clearing the sugar from your blood. High-fat food such as fries and doughnuts will also leave you feeling sluggish as your body works to clear the fat from your blood.
Eating properly can make a world of difference as to how efficient and productive you are during the day. Not only that, but you will improve your long-term health and reduce the risk of many diseases. Bon appétit!