Australia Miners Rediscover Squash for the health of there staff
Sun, heat, rain and flies stand in the way of most sports in Australia’s tough mining regions, leading health and community managers at the more progressive sites and shires to rediscover squash. According to Bluproject’s Managing Director Todd Bowden, a former international squash player and qualified court builder, there has been an incredible uptake in the sport since his firm first recognised how well it suited Australia’s rugged interiors.
“Squash courts are comparatively inexpensive and as they are air-conditioned and roofed they allow miners to work out in a time efficient and safe – and hugely enjoyable – manner, Todd said. “Even more important, in my view, are the psychological benefits miners receive by being following their performance through our online service – allowing players to compare how their squash performance is going against work mates from their own, and other, mining sites around the country – and to feel like they really belong to a healthy and engaged community.
“Fly-in-fly-out, or FIFO workers, really do it tough when on site. They are surrounded by negative temptations in the canteen, the bar or gambling online. We have found that as we have renovated and built squash courts in the most remote mines, there has been a measurable improvement in both physical and mental well-being. “It is also much easier on the family at home if they know their Dad or Mum is engaged in healthy activities while they are at work for such long periods.
“And for the mine managers there is the knowledge that squash will keep their workforce fitter, healthier and therefore more productive. “Sports like tennis and all football codes do not work as lifestyle choices in these hot, and sometimes tropically wet, climates. Squash is the only competitive game that can really deal with the extreme environments miners have to endure. “And squash is a great leveller. It brings together indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, men and women alike, according to their sporting ability. It is great fun.”