Power of Yard Work

Spring is here and I invested a few days cleaning the backyard. We have a dozen Pine trees lining one side of our compound and a few Maple and Cedar on the other side side of our compound. Usually, Spring cleaning is messy but this year it was more so because of the ice storm we had. There were branches, twigs, tonnes of Pine Needles and cones.


Given that I work out regularly and had done extensive back exercises for almost three years now, I went about my task with full enthusiasm. I still have half of the back yard to clean but took a pause for two days. This is because I have a pain in my right hip. This is like intense DOMS. I have taken advil for the last two days and did my upper body workout one day and on the lower body workout day, I did heavy cardio on the treadmill.

When I was cleaning my yard, I was using the rake. The rake involves twisting the torso. I have been doing this all the years so I know this has not caused the pain. The only new thing I did this year was to lift the accumulated yard waste and heft it over my fence into the ravine below. The body movement is similar to when you adjust the pulleys to the bottom of the machine and use both hands to pull weights from the bottom to your top. This exercise involves one side of the torso at a time. I had rarely done this exercise so understandably, those muscles were weak.

This brings me back to the reason I wrote this blog piece. The main point I want to convey is that our body was designed for work. Due to the nature of modern life, our work is mostly cerebral and on the rare occasion we are required to do some physical work, we discover that despite being on a fitness routine in the gym, our body is not ready for real world physical work. Understandably so! The primitive man had to forage or hunt for food. Then he had to heft it to the community and prepare food. There was just sufficient nutrition to last another forage or hunt. The body was in tight equilibrium with just the right amount of fats and muscles. That is not the case these days. We casually pick up a high calorie meal from so many easy to access sources and the gym workout despite being intense in the best case is still not sufficient.

Conclusion: Be judicious in what you eat and try to be physical as much as possible. Do some yard work, take stairs instead of elevator, mop your floor instead of getting a maid. Do the dishes. All these natural movements can do way more than what the gym can accomplish. The gym can surely help sculpt your body but for when the rubber hits the road, nothing compares to regular physical work.



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