Tips and advice for forest machine operators

Tips and Advice

Physiotherapist Per Normark has extensive experience of diagnosing and treating all type of work-related disorders. He has also worked closely with various forms of elite sports. The following are tips from Per about simple, preventive exercises that forestry machine operators can do both inside and outside the machine.

Frequently asked questions

How much time should I spend on break exercises?
Per: A little is much better than nothing at all. As little as 10 minutes is good. The idea is to stimulate blood circulation in the subjected parts of the body.

How important is exercise during my time off?
Per: Very important. It's clinically proven that exercise prevents strain injuries. Studies show that physical activity to a certain extent functions as treatment for pain in the joints and muscles, for example. Moreover, you'll have more energy both at work and at home.

How can I prevent problems besides exercising?
Per: The opportunities for variation have major significance because it's mainly the lack of variety that causes problems. It can be a matter of everything from taking micro-breaks, stretching and standing up, to regularly changing the adjustments for the seat, armrests, hand controller, etc.

What kind of exercise is most effective for the back and neck?
Per: Stability exercise – exercising the back and stomach. By for example, doing normal sit-ups and gaining strength in the trunk, stress on the back and neck is effectively relieved.

Exercises inside the cab

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Exercises in the cab

Little neck exercise

Begin in a relaxed, nearly sunken position. Stretch your back and stretch your neck as if someone was pulling you up by the hair; make a double-chin. Make sure you really stretch your neck. Count to three, relax and take a relaxed position so that you clearly notice the difference. Repeat 5–8 times.

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EXercises in the cab

Rotation exercise

Good for mobility/circulation in the muscles and tendons in the neck, shoulders, arms and wrists. Stretch out, turn your arms and spread your fingers. If you don’t have enough space to stretch your arms, rotation of the shoulders with your finger tips on the shoulders is a good alternative. Repeat 5–8 times.

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exercises in the cab

Picking apples

Classic and simple exercise that is good for the muscles and joints around the neck and shoulders, and even the trunk to a certain extent. Be sure to really pretend gripping the imaginary apples for the circulation and muscles in the hands and fingers. Repeat 5-10 times.

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Exercises in the cab

Wrist and fingers

1) Place the palms of your hands against one another at your chin. Lower your hands downward until you can feel stretching. Repeat 3-5 times. 2) Stretch and cross your arms, and lock your hands together. Turn your hands downwards, in towards your chin and back again. At the stretched position, turn a little from side to side. Repeat 3-5 times.

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Exercises in the cab

Big neck exercise

Begin in a relaxed position standig up. Stretch your back and stretch your neck as if someone was pulling you up by the hair; make a double-chin. Make sure you really stretch your neck. Tilt your head to the right and press the hand down on the left side. Count to three, relax and take a relaxed posture so that you can clearly notice the difference. Repeat each side twice.

Exercises outside the cab

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Exercises outside the cab

Vertical staff

Use a stick or similar object about 1.5 to 2 meters long and move it in circles around the body. Hold it vertically as it passes your sides. This exercise is good for the back of the shoulders, an area sensitive to static strain. Repeat 5–8 times.

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Exercises outside the cab

Horizontal staff

Move the staff above and past your head until you feel that it is stretching your shoulders and chest. This exercise is especially good for stretching the chest muscles, which are often under static strain when you sit and work, such as when you are in a front-leaning, crouched position. Repeat 5–8 times.

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Exercises outside the cab

Three stretches

1) Put a foot on the step, hold your body straight and stretch forward. Good for the thigh and trunk muscles. 2) Lean slightly forward and put a hand on a suitable surface. Take a small step back and rotate the hips backwards. Stretch so that you can feel it from the shoulder all the way to the waist. Stretches the muscle attachments and muscles from the shoulder and downward at the rear/side of the shoulder. 3) Like number 2 but the opposite, where you rotate forward with the hips. Good for the neck and front part of the shoulder as well as the transition to the chest muscles.