A survey completed in 2021 found that 441,000 tradespeople sustained an injury at work that affected their physical wellbeing. Poor physical wellbeing is a significant issue and can impact day-to-day life. As the issue affects so many, we should understand what good physical wellbeing is, why it is important and what we can do to promote it.
This article will explore some measures individuals can take to improve their physical wellbeing. We will also examine the role employers have towards the health and wellbeing of their staff.
Physical wellbeing concerns how fit and active you are and how susceptible you are to illness and injury. Check out our FAQ article for more information on physical wellbeing and common physical health issues.
There are a range of measures to promote physical wellbeing and adopt a healthy lifestyle, including:
Let's look at each of these in more detail.
Eating the correct number of calories is the focus of a healthy diet. The amount you need will vary depending on how active you are. The NHS recommends that, on average, men consume around 2,500 calories a day and women around 2,000.
You should also make sure that:
More information on eating well is available in the NHS's Eatwell Guide.
Exercising is essential for developing physical fitness. It also causes the body to release hormones that make you feel happier.
Adults should spend at least 150 minutes a week doing moderate aerobic activity and carry out strength training on two or more days. The NHS provides more guidance about the type of exercise and its benefits.
Inactivity includes spending prolonged periods sitting in a vehicle, at a desk or workstation. In the short term, it can cause lethargy, tiredness and anxiety. In the long term, it increases the risk of developing heart disease and high blood pressure.
Some examples of how you can reduce inactivity include:
It is well-documented that smoking is bad for your health. It damages the heart and lungs and is the root cause of around 70% of lung cancer cases.
Stopping smoking is difficult, but it is also one of the best things you can do for your health. For more information and support to help you do so, visit Smokefree.
Sleeping well is essential because it can help us to feel more rested, energetic, and productive.
A good routine is one of the most effective ways to improve sleep. Going to sleep at a similar time each night can help make falling asleep easier, as can taking some time to relax before bed.
Also, consuming caffeine, sugar, or alcohol can disrupt your sleep, as can sleeping in a room that is not dark or quiet enough.
There are several measures that employers can take to support the physical wellbeing of their staff. These measures include:
All employers need to complete risk assessments that identify the hazards present in a workplace. It should then take suitable measures to minimise the risk these hazards pose. While risk assessments consider all forms of wellbeing, they usually focus on hazards that could cause physical harm.
Employees must work with their employer to protect their health and wellbeing. They can do this in several ways. They should follow safety measures, attend training, and use any work equipment correctly.
Employees must also report any concerns they have about health and wellbeing. Doing so will allow their employer to make the necessary changes.
Many workers spend most of their time at a desk or other workstation. Injuries can occur if these environments do not suit the user's needs.
Employers must ensure that workstations are comfortable and do not cause aches or pains for everyone working there. Components should be adjustable or replaceable to accommodate different people.
For example, taller workers may need a lower chair to avoid slouching or straining to see a screen. Wheelchair users may require a desk that is adjustable to suit the height of their wheelchair.
Employers are legally required to make reasonable adjustments for those with health conditions. Adjustments should ensure that everyone with health issues is protected at work. These may include:
Workers need to tell employers about relevant conditions to allow them the opportunity to make reasonable adjustments. Equality and Human Rights Commission provides further information about workplace adjustments.
Everyone should take care of their hygiene to stop the spread of germs and contamination with dangerous materials.
Employers must encourage good personal hygiene. They can do this by giving their workers clean places to wash and the proper safety equipment.
Employees have a responsibility to:
Making physical wellbeing a priority can take effort and require significant changes in how we live and work. We can all adopt good eating and exercise habits, and improve sleep routines to promote physical wellbeing. Employers can support and care for their workers with risk assessments, ergonomic workspaces and promoting hygiene.
Take one of the following courses to learn more about health and wellbeing and how to promote positive wellbeing at home and work:
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