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Life Expectancy - Manual Laborers

 
 
gollum
 
Reply Sat 24 Nov, 2012 08:31 pm
I read that blue collar workers have lower life expectancy that higher income people. Yet I understand that blue collar work involves more physical effort and that exercise helps to increase life expectancy.

Why do blue collar workers have shorter lives if they exercise more?
 
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Nov, 2012 08:36 pm
@gollum,
I see no such proof of such a claim that you have made. Do you have a source for this?

The research I've seen has indicated that a lower life expectancy of some blue collar workers may have more to do with access to good nutrition, education and lack of access to quality health care and/or education about the bad effects of tobacco, substance abuse and/or alcohol, etc.

People who are in higher income brackets may often seek out a higher quality of healthcare that is available to them and their greater level of disposable income. They too may recv hospitalization and/or nursing for serious illnesses that might not be available to the poorer people extending their life span a bit further.

However, that being said, labor should never been mistaken for exercise as they are distinctly different activities. Exercise has often been shown to have a positive healthful effect on health, whereas manual labor does not. For example healthful exercise has a shorter finite period of duration (30 min -1hr) and be constructive in nature, whereas manual labor may go on for hours at a time (destructive).
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Nov, 2012 08:57 pm
@Ragman,
All that, and more. Almost any kind of exercise program is going to work to develop most or all major muccles in the body. Manual labor can work the same muscles and bones to the point of failure.
0 Replies
 
gollum
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Nov, 2012 08:57 pm
@Ragman,
Thank you.

I think blue collar workers should burn more calories per hour, which might tend to limit their body weight.

I'm not clear on the difference between work and exercise. Is it just the time duration? Maybe, it is the nature of the work. I live in New York City, where I see many delivery workers on bicycles. Perhaps that helps their health.
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Sat 24 Nov, 2012 09:16 pm
@gollum,
No. Making a correlation to expending of calories and lower body weight would be a gross over simplification as to indication of a relationship to an increase in longevity.

The nature of manual labor over an extended period has different physical effects on the human body than does doing exercise. Feel free to do your own research into such issues as negative effects of lactic acid buildup and the effects of wear and wear on spine and joints.

As an example I see nothing that indicate positively (or negatively) that brick layers, carpenters, plumbers live longer than anyone else. After all, being trim and/or muscular through the ages of 20 -50 yrs doesn't at all mean you will live longer.

As I stated, manual labor as a physical activity extends over a greater period of a work day than exercise. Exercise is a more specific concentrated activity that acts on certain muscle groups. Hopefully that doesn't break down spines, joints and the minor damage that occurs is easily recoverable with days off in between. It is the nature of healthful exercise to build muscle, not tear it down. Resting of the muscle groups is the key to positive benefits. There is no such rest with performing of manual labor.

Google can be your friend when you want to find such research. One such search I did using Google turned up the following showing the difference between exercise and manual labor:

http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/basics/difference-between-exercise-and-physical-activity.aspx

For example I see nothing to indicate those delivery people on bikes are living longer. Thinner bodies and being more muscular doesn't necessarily mean someone will live longer. Inhaling car and truck fumes and being subject to accidents is not exactly indicate a greater chance toward longevity.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  3  
Reply Sat 24 Nov, 2012 09:47 pm
Manual labourers tend to have stress related to making less money or jobs being shipped away from the areas they work, or industry shutting down, then there are the terrible working hours and working conditions. There are the environmental issues where they work. Welders, firemen,Coal miners get black lung or cancers, fishermen have nasty weather/water... Not to mention the higher than normal incidents of accidents or premature death. Truck drivers sit for unending hours, waitresses stand for too long... Tree fallers are at the mercy of a bad bounce, farmers work with poisons and equipment and or animals that aren't always cooperative - thus dangerous. I could go on..
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Nov, 2012 12:06 am
@gollum,
gollum wrote:

Thank you.

I think blue collar workers should burn more calories per hour, which might tend to limit their body weight.


Kind of naive a sentiment. The amount of physical labor isn't the only factor in determining life expectancy.

You have to take into account: exposure to a dangerous work environment: chemicals, long hours, dangerous and/or faulty equipment. Hard physical work plus dangerous equipment and long hours equals tired and stressed out workers and possibility of major injury or death during work hours.

You also have to take into the account a person's ability to afford an appropriate diet. Less time for eating equals and lack of monetary resources also more opportunities to go for fast food.

Add into the account the greater chance a person who is blue collar for not having health insurance. No health insurance equals no preventative medical habits.
roger
 
  2  
Reply Sun 25 Nov, 2012 01:28 am
@tsarstepan,
Forgetting all that for the moment, if you spend your working life doing real manual labor, when you get out of bed after age 40, sometime during the day, you are going to be in pain. Elbows, shoulders, knees, and backs are the most common. Even without chemical exposure and industrial injuries, you are going to be in pain. I knew many at the power plant with those conditions, and yes they had health insurance that was the envy of almost everyone in town. They could always round up a good doctor to tell they why they were in pain.

As Rags mentioned, it's not just calories burned, it's the type of exercise involved.
0 Replies
 
amygarside
 
  0  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2012 12:04 am
@gollum,
It is not just exercise but how they put nutrition to their body.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2012 01:02 am
@amygarside,
Orally, one presumes.
amygarside
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Nov, 2012 06:31 pm
@roger,
I guess you are right.
0 Replies
 
YOGI BEER
 
  -3  
Reply Sat 26 Mar, 2016 12:12 am
@tsarstepan,

You are so intelligent and have such an incredible insight into the physiology of the blue collar worker. I can only imagine the countless hours of observation you must have endured watching men work, swear, sweat and look back at you in horror as you eat all of the doughnuts at the lunch counter on the street below. Long before the lunch whistle blows and leaves them sad, hungry and devoid of energy. The energy they need to build the power plants and plastic factories that drive your high resolution virtual reality world. The energy they can only get from the empty calories you deprived them of when you ate all of the doughnuts! According to you dear gollum they should burn more calories to limit their body weight. That succinct observation of yours is, I believe, a ruse of an evil mind to keep the workman lean. Because a lean, healthy man will have no need for the calories YOUR twisted mind craves! But all of your twisted scheming and elaborate theories are just a waste of potentially valuable gaming time. The joke is on YOU! Oh don't you see? THEY Sir, THEY are the slaves of a hard taskmaster called the whistle. When the first whistle blows they are opening the gang boxes to reach for their tools while YOU gollum have the clock on your side or inside if it had sprinkles on it. You can at your leisure saunter into the Dunkin Doughnuts and eat yourself into such a sugar rush that no Domino's Sugar factory could keep pace with. No lazy, out of shape non calorie burning blue collar worker can stand in your way. What would make your conquest of the doughnut shop more sweet, no pun intended, is if they were UNION workers! Ha! What joyful salivation that would be! Tearing softly into the last warm jelly filled doughnut that could have been resting in the belly of a Union member! Oh such unbridled joy. Enough of your haughty observations on the physical state of the blue collar worker! Those wonderful sugary delights are yours for the taking. Just please be careful and don't hurt your wrists while multitasking. You know, wiping the remnants of the cream filling from your sardonic grin while fumbling with your mouse and letting your belt out while screaming for your mom to answer the door before the Domino's guy leaves. Take it easy. Those lazy out of shape blue collar workers are no match for you.
gollum
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Mar, 2016 03:37 pm
@YOGI BEER,
YOGI BEER-

I read that lower income people tend to have higher rates of diabetes, higher rates of obesity, higher smoking rates and tend to die younger.

I wish to better understand the problem and to be a part of the solution.
0 Replies
 
Beth Webster
 
  3  
Reply Wed 5 Apr, 2017 12:53 am
@gollum,
It is hard. It is a very hard life. That is why the lifespan of a laborer is shorter. It has nothing to do with intelligence or education. I was a banquet worker and a full-time waitress for years. I have a very high IQ and tons of education. I am a published writer. I did well in graduate school. I taught part-time for years at several colleges, too, so I can make a comparison. I am always offended when my teacher friends talk about how they work harder than anyone else. They have no idea. I once worked for thirteen hours, without a single break, at a job where I was lifting half my own weight all day. I once had to move a piano, from one floor to another and get it up on stage--by myself--and I am five feet tall and one hundred pounds.

There is a difference between an hour or two of exercise and thirteen hours of constant physical labor. Imagine going to the gym and lifting heavy weights non-stop, then doing the treadmill, then the weights, for twelve or thirteen hours straight. That is what some jobs are like. My friends at the banquet hall were more intelligent than my friends in office jobs. They did not smoke or drink more. In fact, they were pretty square. They were not less educated or intelligent than the "white collar" workers I knew. Still, they aged very quickly. Many had university degrees but had gotten stuck in labor jobs because they couldn't find other jobs. Many were immigrants who were very fluent in several languages.

Here is another reason: a person cannot work a hard labor job until the age of 65. I know a lot of professors who keep teaching until the age of seventy. Many laborers get poor, sick and die when they get too old to work. They do not have insurance. Getting medical help in this country is nearly impossible without insurance.

An episode of Nova showed that jobs of servitude lowered a person's lifespan in another way. A person at the bottom of the pecking order, one who is talked down to, bossed around rudely, treated as though he or she is less valuable than others, suffers depression, anxiety and illness as a result. This is unacceptable and needs to change. Can a person working in a sweatshop be happy? The hard life wears people down. These things seem obvious to me. The poor, however, are usually blamed for whatever society does to them.
gollum
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Apr, 2017 05:32 am
@Beth Webster,
Beth Webster-

Thank you. You are not only well educated but also empathetic.
0 Replies
 
Bob1963
 
  0  
Reply Thu 6 Sep, 2018 06:01 pm
@gollum,
Hi Gollum,

I had the same thoughts, especially when making early decisions about career paths. I just recently read that same stat. Reader’s Digest suggested the gap between white & blue collar life expectancy was as much as 7 years !

I cannot comment on the precision of this statistic with any expertise, but can proffer my perspective. I have spent most of my life in construction work, aside from a ten year stint of going back to university and a brief foray into the white collar world.

I discovered it was not really for me, as I appear to have a need for outdoor work and a dislike of bureaucracy. Also, I have a need for creativity that I find cannot be satisfied by shuffling papers. And, no, I cannot say that construction has fulfilled that last desire. But at least it felt more action-oriented.

Physical labour as many here have pointed out, takes its toll over the long term, so a goal of balance, if achievable, should be sought. Hard to do. I hurt my back several times in my career and spent thousands addresing that. Arthritis is a worry, but has not impacted me in a debilitating way yet.
(I once told my Dad this is why they call it the “Trades” - you trade your body for money)

I have been fortunate enough over the last 15 years to only work seasonally at a high-paying job, leaving time for my more creative and less destructive pursuits. I made it a point to work as little per year as I wanted to, and my choice of work and real estate happened to coincide to make that doable.

Many associates in my field would be entranced by the dollar figure and some to their physical and psychological detriment. The work was hard, very cold, very long hours, isolated from civilization and I didn’t want to end up like many others and work myself to a retirement freedom that may never happen.

Several friends died in my field died young, in terms of retirement. My boss at 63. My friends wife at 61.

Our way of life can be destructive, especially if we believe everything we are told about what to buy, where to live, how long to work, etc.








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