Physical work is the work done manually by hand i.e. involving the body. With advancing technology, manufacture of machines, much of the work done earlier by hand is being done by machines.  It has greatly reduced the amount of manual work people do. In developing countries, where domestic help is readily available, many do not do any physical work.

Nature devised limbs to be used as tools, but with increasing affluence, their use has been progressively reduced.  It is time to review the situation and consider the advantages of physical work.

Working manually for at least 30-60 minutes per day provides adequate physical exercise to the body and prevents obesity and helps reduce extra weight.  Thus it would prevent obesity related diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, e.t.c. The joints become strong and flexible. When one sweats after doing some physical work, grime and dust is removed from the body and it imparts a fresh glow to the face. The blood circulation is improved to all vital parts of the body like brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, intestines, thus improving their functioning.  Thus overall physical health of the body is improved.

The body is refreshed, removing lethargy, making one feel relaxed. This helps one to concentrate more on work at hand and improves efficiency at work. All these benefits can be achieved by physical exercise. But physical exercise alone does not present a sense of accomplishment which a completed task does. One may work out in the gym for an hour daily but would  not get the sense of contentment, which working in the garden  for one hour would offer. Lacking this sense of satisfaction, many persons including successful professionals, suffer from insomnia and/or depression.

Rising crime rate among teenagers is a cause for alarm around the world. If teenagers do some manual work physically for some time every day or even on fixed week days, they would find an outlet for their abundant energy, which otherwise makes them aggressive and even at times delinquent. Physical work also provides a sense of thrill to youngsters, seeking which they resort to crime, drugs and promiscuous sex.

Doing physical work is very helpful for the society at large. When the affluent people of the society do some manual work, it helps them to realize the hard work put in by their workers, thus making their outlook towards them, more humane.  Children from a young age, understand the pain and labor involved in simple chores, after doing part of it themselves. Thus they learn to respect the workers and even the women of the house if they are doing this work. These children definitely grow up as better human beings.  When the manual workers (for whom it is a source of livelihood), see their rich brethren doing the same work for some time, it definitely boosts their morale and increases work output.

The practice of, “UMUGANDA” for all in Rwanda, is laudable and worth emulating. When everybody is busy doing something creative in their free time, the society definitely improves in a positive way. Therefore people should understand the importance of physical work. Try working in the garden manually with tools, cleaning the house, painting or even carpentry, anything to be done manually with minimum use of machines. One can take up a single work or variety of them, depending on his/her choice and physical stamina.

It is not to say that gyms or other form of exercises should be shunned. But along with routine work, individuals should try to do some physical work. It will help them be more healthy physically and mentally.

By-Dr. Rachna Pande

Specialist Internal Medicine

E-mail- [email protected]

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