Working hard or hardly working

There is a difference between exercise and labor.

Both can help your health, could cause injury, or swell ego. Except, physically demanding chores are a little different. When accomplished correctly, they leave behind a pile of split firewood, or dripping clean dishes, or a new row rolled over in the garden.

In a gym, this experience is for sale. The impact grows firm in sore muscles, or rinsed with expensive sweat down the drain in the shower after. For your money, you get strong and healthy, but only around repetitive motions specific to mindless machines, a heavy iron bar and round silver dumb-bell ears.

Even simple tasks like cutting grass, however, on your feet pushing a smoke puffing mower, or filling holes in the road, or turning compost over, or digging gardens by hand, exercises your thinking-organ as well.

Eyes, ears, mind must go to task with body, so as to not waste effort. Cause injury to yourself or others. Damage the yard. Break a tool. A tsk tsk task. It is as mentally engaging to get good, essential chores accomplished as it is physical.

Compared to mind numbing counting and losing track of turns around the track, rote transitions through this machine or that, stretching out on the mat, cardio, bodybuilding, athletic training for bookkeepers, an army of well-tended iron on wire cords.
Such monotone, even-tempered, routinized methods of getting into or maintaining desired shapes. It all becomes another way to measure ourselves against others.

Splitting firewood, cutting and hauling yard trash, moving earth, putting down power tools and doing the work by hand, won’t win you any speed or strength or body building competition. But it will make you stronger. And the gym has been in business longer.

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