The Centers for Disease Control states that over one-third of all Americans are obese, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. There are many things that have either accompanied or potentially perpetuated the inflating of the American people, including diet, lack of exercise, stress and a departure from physical labor.
As Americans have gotten larger, fewer and fewer people are participating in manual labor either at work or at home. With advancing technology, even those that used to work on assembly lines have been replaced by sophisticated machines operated from a computer panel. While machines have made things easier in many ways, they have potentially contributed to the rise in chronic health conditions in this country.
Engineers and designers are spending less time working with their hands on products, and homeowners are finding more inside to keep them occupied rather than engaging in projects outside.
Lawn services are busier than ever, and fewer kids are actually learning how to operate a lawn mower. Twenty-five years ago, most kids were mowing the lawn on a regular basis by the time they were twelve.
Human beings are made to be active. When we are not active, our bodies suffer. Insomnia, chronic pain, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure and anxiety are among the many conditions that are exacerbated by too little good old fashioned manual labor.
Here are four excellent reasons why you may want to consider incorporating some manual labor into your weekly routine.
Manual Labor Reduces Stress
Sitting for long periods of time does not allow the body to release the endorphins that it needs. Endorphins do many things, such as lubricating the body and allowing the brain to think clearly. When we have trouble thinking, we get stressed. Doing a little physical work each day helps with productivity, reduces stress and releases “feel good” chemicals.
Manual Labor Helps with Sleep
Many people have a terrible time sleeping because they are not actually physically tired. Most people who work outside in the sun all day fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow. Farmers get the most sleep of anyone in the United States; they are physically active for four to six hours a day. To sleep like a baby, start doing some work outside each day.
Manual Labor Reduces Obesity
Have you ever added up how many hours a week you are actually sitting versus how many you are in motion? Most people spend about 40 hours a week behind a desk and very few engaged in physical labor.
Moving is a good thing; it benefits the body. Functional movement such as lifting, bending and pushing are all exceptional ways to build muscle, improve flexibility and keep the pounds at bay.
Manual Labor Improves Learning
With fewer and fewer hands-on learning opportunities for kids and more emphasis put on grades, it is less likely that kids will be engaged in hands-on work. This type of learning environment has been replaced with textbooks and computers.
Studying by memorizing versus doing dulls the mind and creates boredom and a loss of interest in learning. Kids and adults need to be actively engaged in the learning process as much as possible, using all of their senses. Without engaging in practical and physical education, both body and mind suffer.
Most people learn best when they are doing rather than watching or reading. How did you learn how to ride a bike, for instance? By reading about it or by getting on and going for it? The more we are physically engaged in learning the more we learn and love to learn.
Spend as much time as possible being physically active. Even better, engage in somewhat challenging physical labor or home projects that put your mind and body to the test. You will feel better, look better, sleep better and improve your health by adding even a few hours a week of physical labor into your schedule.
-The Alternative Daily