Our society has people with varying levels of physical labor.
On one end we have people endlessly tiring themselves to physical exhaustion working more than sane hours of hard labor. Their back-breaking work, poor working conditions combined with low remuneration constantly exposes them to extraneous bodily strain and undernourishment.
On the other end we have people with desk jobs that restricts their bodily movement for prolonged hours, as their field of labor is mostly within and around cabins and cubicles. Even in the industrial sector, as one climbs up the institutional ladder, physical labor declines, as the field of labor shifts from shop floor to desk top. In addition, access to better physical and domestic comforts, reduces the physical strain in their everyday chores.
Both these ends represent the vast disparity in the level of physical labor. While excess physical labor evidently takes toll on the health, static desk jobs subtly kills the health.
Now, improving labor conditions and remuneration of people of the first category, which is key to their health, involves a number of social and industrial changes and a strong political will to enact powerful laws and implement them. Whereas, those in the second category can exercise their freewill to improve their work culture and lifestyle, which are key to the lifestyle diseases they confront. This is something they must do for their own good health, and for the other segment of society that is toiling with hard labor in harsh conditions, they can render their voice and support.
“An active life is key to good health and a sedentary life is a source of disease, as much as spine breaking labor is for the bottom end of the economic segment.”
Going back a few pages in history might help. If we compare people of older generations with ours, they had a better health than us today. One main reason is physical manual labor was part of their every day routine. Today we are forced to do the same in the name of ‘workouts’ and ‘exercises’. Earlier warming up our bodies, stretching our limbs and getting our muscles and joints worked, were ingrained in everyday chores. Today it is not so. Even the mechanical devices of bygone years, what we may look at as out-dated, kept us healthy. Think of the modest bicycle. Now it’s pedaling its way back. We are cycling and walking again, may not be to reach a destination, but at least as part of an exercise routine.
There must be a total overhaul in our working culture. But until it becomes reality, physical exercise must be part of our everyday routine. While that’s one way to stay healthy, we must keep looking for imbibing physical manual labor into our everyday routine or put to use some mechanical devices, which will help us move our limbs a bit more than what we do today.