No matter how much you enjoy your work, the first few weeks of a more physically demanding job can seem daunting. During your adjustment period, you may find yourself leaving the worksite at the end of your day with some aching muscles instead of your usual smile.
Being an electrician requires a higher level of physical fitness than many other jobs since you’ll need to stand, squat, or kneel for long periods of time. You may also need to use your hands in awkward positions, such as over your head, while working.
For many new electricians, adjustment is just a matter of time, patience, and practice to let their bodies get used to the new work routine. However, you can use the seven tips below to shorten the adjustment process and enjoy your new job more.
1. Boost Your Nutrition
When you become more active physically, it’s important to change your diet to accommodate your new needs. Choose foods high in protein, such as salmon and grass-fed beef, to support your muscles.
You will likely also need to start eating more calories. Some men between age 19 and age 50 who perform physical labor need as many as 3,000 calories a day to maintain high energy levels.
2. Choose High-Quality Shoes
When you switch to a more active job, your feet are usually the first body part to notice. Stave off foot pain by wearing supportive shoes.
Look for shoes with solid arch and ankle support that fit you well.
3. Prioritize Healthy Sleep
Studies have linked physical jobs with too little or too much sleep, both of which contribute to fatigue and slow the healing process for your aching muscles. Give yourself a full eight hours to sleep whenever possible.
Before you try to fall asleep, eliminate most light sources for about an hour to help yourself relax.
4. Stay Well Hydrated
Your body needs protein, as discussed above, and water to support your muscles during long periods of activity. Drink at least eight glasses of water of eight ounces or more. If you feel thirsty during the day, increase your daily intake.
Avoid dehydrating beverages like soft drinks, coffee, and alcohol during your adjustment period.
5. Stretch Throughout the Day
Most strain and repetitive motion injuries occur over long periods of time spent in an awkward or tense position. To reduce your risk of injury and your overall soreness, stretch often.
Even when you can’t get on your feet to stretch your entire body, stop once an hour to rotate your wrists and flex your hands.
6. Time Your Meals
You won’t get all the energy you need just from eating more calories-you must also time when you eat. Begin your day with a big, high-calorie breakfast to start strong.
Choose low-fat, high-protein snacks and spread your snacking out over the course of your day.
7. Use Heat and Cold Therapy as Needed
No matter how fit you are or how much you prepare, doing new movements for an entire workday may leave you sore. For sharp, acute pain, use a cold compress to reduce the swelling.
For dull aches, especially those that last longer than a day or so, take a warm bath or apply a hot compress to increase blood flow.
As you start a new electrician position, pay attention to your coworkers’ coping methods during strenuous types of labor. You may pick up more tips just from observing or from discussing your symptoms with more experienced electricians.
Use these tips to make your first few weeks of electrical work a success you can build on for years to come.
Not an electrician yet but hoping to become one? See how we can help-check out our apprenticeship program.