If you’re looking for ways to improve your shift work health then I’ve got three words for you – exercise, exercise, exercise! Because one of the best ways to combat fatigue and tiredness is simply moving that body of yours, which is exactly what it was designed to do – move.
You see the average person today probably gets less exercise than any of our ancestors did throughout the history of mankind. Pretty scary stuff hey?
Let me help explain by walking through a typical day for most shift workers.
The alarm clock goes off (at the most inappropriate time of the day or night); you stagger out of the bed, get into the car and sit down. You then drive the car for let’s say 30 minutes, you get out of the car, go into work, sit down at your computer and get to work doing whatever it is that you’re getting paid to do. Your shift ends, (after 8 hours if you’re lucky), you get back into your car, sit down and drive for another 30 minutes or so, stagger into your house and sit down on the couch because you’re feeling too darn tired to do anything else.
Sounding familiar? It’s a bit like going for a long drive in your car. You feel absolutely exhausted by the time you arrive at your destination even though you’ve done absolutely nothing all day except sit!
Now lots of sitting and little movement is certainly not good for your health – short or long term.
You see over the years, improvement in technology has made things a lot easier for us (cars, lifts, chairs, computers, phones) – but it has certainly made us lazy. In fact far too many of us (shift work or no shift work) are flabby and lazy, and addicted to convenience foods because it’s just too much bother to cook a nutritious meal.
The old saying “If you don’t use it, you lose it” – certainly rings true.
Exercise is important for everybody. It’s important not only to improve your present degree of health, but also to help maintain it as you get older.
And another good reason to get up and boogie (AKA my code word for “exercise”) – is that it helps you to sleep. Now if you’re a shift worker then that can be music to your ears, because sleep is certainly our best friend … when we can get it of course!
So if your shift working job involves a lot of sitting – get up and stretch every hour, go for a walk to get yourself off that chair and away from the computer screen. Despite what you may think, your chair is not your friend.
P.S – As for your days off – well there are certainly no excuses for you not to exercise then … absolutely none!