How much excercise can you get from manual labor
May 3, 2005 10:47 AM Subscribe
Unti fairly recently I excercised fairly frequently. Due to having less and less free time, and more and more opportunities to do manual labor, I'm wondering how to estimate the amount of excercise I'm getting from various kinds of Hard Work.
posted by RustyBrooks to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
I used to aim for 3 workouts a week, and usually managed to average 2. I used free weights and an elliptical machine. That space is being converted into it's original purpose some time soon (a baby's room) and besides, I find my time after work being more and more consumed with things that Must Be Done.
However, my weekend free time has turned in manual labor for the most part. At the moment, I'm doing a lot of landscaping, and it's pretty hard work. Digging trenches, hauling around dirt, rocks, etc. Lots of lifting, trudging, swinging, what not. Another activity that I do often is that I work for Habitat for Humanity a couple weekends a month, building house frames.
I'm curious about how beneficial this all is. Seems like an 8 hour day of manual labor ought to burn a lot of calories and some of this should probably increase my strength and endurance. How many calories would I expect to burn in an 8 hour day of landscaping? Pretty hard to estimate the other kinds of manual labor I do, since it's extremely variable. Sometimes I stand in one place and hammer all day, sometimes I carry sheets of plywood by myself from one side of a warehouse to another, etc.
I'm also wondering about corresponding risks. I already had an incident about 6 months ago where I pulled the ligaments on my sternum pretty good and couldn't lift anything for months. I was surprised by this: I didn't expect to be able to lift more than my body could handle. I just sort of figured that if it was "too heavy" I wouldn't be able to lift it.
As a closing note, one of the reasons I've always worked out is that when it came time to do things that required strength or endurance, I wanted to be able to do them without struggling. I've also noted, though, that when I merely do what is possible to me, doing that doesn't get easier. Doing something *harder* than what I can already do does make what I can already do easier. So, if I want to easily be able to lift 100 pounds, I need to be "practicing" with 130 pounds. I'm wondering, therefore, if doing manual labor will only keep me where I am, not not serve much to increase my strength. Although, I have yet to see what the effects are of lifting moderate weight over very long periods of time are compared to lifting larger amounts over short periods.
Oh, and, man, I pushed a car a couple blocks the other day. They should have car-pushing-machines at gyms. By which I mean a big empty space with a car in neutral that you can push back and forth. After I was done pushing this car I felt like my legs were gonna fall off.