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Taking Care of Yourself, Welders’ Fitness and Nutrition

Welders accept a level of risk with their occupation. It's a known, accepted, and respected risk that comes with wielding the torch. You'll find a long list of articles on safety right here on Weld My World.

Why Welders Should Exercise

Our bodies were meant to move. In general, exercise will help prevent disease. Strong muscles and well functioning organs lead to improved stamina, allowing you to become more efficient. With regular exercise your body will actually use less energy for the same work. Your muscles, bones, and ligaments will thank you for the strengthening and toning that exercise provides. Your posture will improve. You'll look better and feel better. (Who doesn't want that?) Stretching will improve your flexibility. We know how important that is for a welder who may work in all sorts of conditions and positions. Flexibility reduces risk of injury and improves balance and coordination. Do you hold your stress in your neck or upper back? Stretching can relieve this tension. Moving regularly will help you sleep better and improve your mood. And of course exercise burns calories to control weight.

Specific types of exercise can improve ventilatory functions. In one study reported in the Egyptian Journal of Occupational Medicine in 2009, forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume, and maximum voluntary ventilation were tested in male welders 20 to 30 years of age. The 60 participants were randomly divided into three groups. One focused on arm exercises, the second with an incentive spirometer (basically a device you breathe into that marks your breath's power/capacity), the third group used both. (No, I didn't know what an incentive spirometer was either, but likely you'll recognize it in picture.) After two months the results showed the importance of exercise and breathing to improve ventilatory function in welders.

The Welders Diet

Perhaps you've noticed, as I have, that the "experts" regularly change their opinion of whether a food is healthful. But these basics of a healthily diet will likely be agreed upon by most and easier to follow than strict guidelines. If you want to live your best life, a healthy diet should be balanced, moderate, and varied. Include different foods proportionate to their nutrient value. Choose healthier foods more often than unhealthy foods. Portion control or moderation should be a primary concern. Do spend some time understanding portion sizes. (I don't know who makes up serving sizes and I don't always agree, but it is good to be aware.) Enjoying a wide variety of foods will increase the odds that you obtain the required vitamins and minerals you need from food. Eat slowly, too. It may take 20 minutes for your brain to register that you're full. If you've lost touch with these signals, read Use Your "Fullness Sense" to Stop Overeating.

What say you? Do you notice a difference when you eat more healthful foods and exercise regularly? How do you feel? Any tips for busy welders? Please share in the comments below.

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