By John Huntington
Special to the Nugget
I was raised in San Manuel, AZ, a town developed to house the employees of Magma Copper Co., and I had the good fortune to work for that company in variety of job descriptions.
There was a long strike in 1979, and I left pursue a Doctor of Chiropractic degree after being helped by a chiropractor for back pain resulting from a work injury the prior year.
Beyond learning to cut and weld steel, vulcanize conveyor belts, or wield a 16 pound hammer without hurting myself, I picked up a few other habits at Magma that have helped me through the years.
The jobs were plentiful, and a young man could hire on, gain new skills, and learn to get up and get at it daily.
The jobs most always required physical activity – from operators stair-climbing in the Mill, to Chute Tappers breaking boulders, to shift boss’s walking miles to monitor production.
The walking, climbing, carrying all helped build strong hips, thighs and back, crucial to a healthier and less painful spine.
Take a Horizontal Break
Many of the workers would lie down during lunch breaks. I observed older chute tappers that could out-work us young-uns, and I mimicked their leisure “lagon” time at lunch. I would recharge by getting off gravity’s pull, allowing postural muscle to relax, and getting a 10 to 15 minute power nap on top of it all.
Research shows men who work and also nap, have a 37% lessened incident of heart failure.
Take a Coffee Break
Coffee has been used by man for over 500 years, and more and more published research shows its role in advancing health and well-being.
Some benefits include decreasing the risk of liver disease and the effects of previous stroke, reducing pain while increasing energy and pleasure. Coffee also has anti-microbial properties and reduces levels of MRSA colonization in the nose.
Coffee provides about the only “bitters” in our sweet-fixated diet. Coffee has been shown to help counter the development of the type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer these diets produce.
Take a Laughter Break
I always enjoyed bigger jobs where many hands were needed. Changing a large conveyor belt, pan feeder rehab at the ore dumps, or replacing cone crusher liners required a team approach (full discloser: Richard C. and Pappie did cone changes just the two of them – that’s a team).
This group effort was accompanied with jokes, some friendly “ribbing” of one another and belly-laughs more often than not.
(This takes me back even further, maybe 1960 or so at the Drug Store in San M., and watching Sig Schaul, John Mitchell, and maybe a very young John Dicus (and others) having coffee and filling the air with their guffaws! They impressed me deeply with their camaraderie and ease.)
Laughter decreases blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, is a fun abdominal work out, reduces chronic pain and burns calories similar to a slow to moderate walk.
And…it makes you feel better right now, whether there is a 16 lb. hammer, a shovel or a coffee cup in your hand.
Thanks to all my co-workers that were Magma. I learned from you all.
Dr. Huntington practices Chiropractic, Biomedical Acupuncture and Physiotherapy in Oracle, Az. 520-896-9844 firstname.lastname@example.org.