Every job has its own demands of workers, whether that be from a physical standpoint or a mental one. This difference is often associated with physical labour and critical thinking. But, what about jobs that combine both demands? What jobs are physically and mentally demanding?
Jobs in areas such as engineering, teaching, medicine, and construction can be both physically and mentally demanding. They require physical work, such as building and being on your feet, as well as problem-solving and constant thinking. The levels of these demands changes depending on the industry.
We are quick to categorise jobs by physical and mental labour, without realising that most roles are demanding in both ways. You may be surprised at the number of jobs actually combine physical and mental demands.
What jobs combine both physical and mental demands?
Jobs in the construction, creative, medical, fitness, and teaching fields all combine physical and mental demands. This is because the roles in these industries usually have a combination of physical and mental work.
Physically demanding jobs involve physical exertion that requires standing, sitting, lifting, walking, carrying, pulling, and pushing. A more physically demanding job with have these qualities at the forefront of a worker’s role. But these physical demands do pop up in a range of jobs.
Mentally demanding jobs entail lots of thinking, creativity, problem-solving, analysing, and other mental processes. Often, mentally demanding jobs are associated with science and teaching. But both of these areas can also be physically demanding to some extent. This is especially the case for teaching physical education. There is a level of expectation to meet physical and mental demands in the one role.
There are many more jobs that are both physically and mentally demanding!
Construction work can be considered one of the most physically exhausting roles, but it also comes with mental demands as well! Construction workers need to be constantly problem-solving and thinking about the technical processes of their work. Take carpenters as an example. They have the physical demand of the job in the building side of their work. But if you work as a carpenter, you will also notice that it is mentally demanding as well. You have to consider all of the measurements and problem-solve to make everything fit and be stable. Without the mentally demanding side, you would just be connecting materials, unable to build houses!
Other jobs that combine physical and mental demands include:
- Emergency service workers (firefighters, police, paramedics).
- Dancers and choreographers.
- Fitness trainers.
- Doctors and nurses.
What jobs are mentally demanding?
There are jobs that are more mentally demanding including working as a technician, lawyer, graphic designer, and architect.
Technicians work with lots of complex technologies from a range of industries. They test emerging technology, perform maintenance on this technology, and enforce safety standards. They are constantly analysing and using their mental skills to complete their work. In this case, a technician’s job is often more mentally demanding.
Lawyers work in a more mentally demanding role as they diligently study to provide sound advice to clients on legal matters. When appearing in court, they are constantly thinking about laws and precedents that will influence their case. For the most part, the work of a lawyer is mental.
Architects have a more mentally demanding job as they are tasked with designing buildings and structures. They calculate accurate measurements and draw blueprints precisely for builders to follow. These builders then hire skilled and general labourers to follow the instructions from the blueprints to create buildings. This work requires a lot of thinking and analysing and not so much physical work.
Graphic designers, much like architects, have mentally demanding jobs with little physical demands. Graphic designers have to use their creativity to develop a range of designs for all kinds of businesses and industries. Most of their work can involve sketching or designing using computers. Again, there is lots of mental exertion, but not so much physical exertion.
These are just some examples of roles that are more mentally demanding than physically demanding. All still have physical acts that go alongside the work, but they don’t often reach a level of high physical exertion.
What jobs are more physically demanding?
Jobs that are more physically demanding involve lots of physical activity such as work as a professional athlete, a labourer, or a nurse. Some of these jobs we mentioned earlier as being both physically and mentally demanding, which is true! Most jobs have a large combination of mental and physical demands. But one demand will be a bit higher than the other.
Work as a professional athlete is predominantly physically demanding. There are the mental aspects of pushing your mind alongside your body. Also, calculating distances, paces, and the best techniques to succeed involves mental work. But, at the end of the day, working as a professional athlete is more physically demanding than anything else.
Work in the construction industry, especially work as a general construction labourer, is mostly physically demanding. Construction labour work does have a higher mental demand that competes with the physical demand. However, the work all requires lots of physical exertion, so it is more physically demanding.
Nursing is another step up from construction work in terms of the fight between being mentally and physically demanding. Nurses are constantly checking on patients to make sure their health status is either being maintained or improving. They will easily become mentally exhausted from their work. But working as a nurse is a touch more physically demanding than mentally demanding. Nurses spend all day on their feet moving around and assisting patients, making their work very physically demanding!
Is a mentally and physically challenging job good for you?
Having a job that is both mentally and physically challenging can be good for you. Exercise has lots of positive effects on our health, so getting up and working a physical job will improve your health.
A mentally demanding job will require you to constantly learn and problem-solve. This can help improve your memory and cognitive functions.
Combining physical and mental work can really boost your productivity, health, and thinking. But you need to be careful to not overdo it. If you strain your body with excessive physically demanding jobs, you will likely build oxidative stress and inflammation. If the mental demands of your work are too much, you can suffer severe burnout and exhaustion. So, always be sure to be checking in with your body and self to see if you’re being pushed too much. Keep a healthy balance of work that is physically and mentally demanding at a good level.
A mentally and physically demanding job should challenge you in a positive way. Check out our article about how to make your job positively challenging! If you’re looking to hire labour workers, get in touch with our Canberra Labour Hire team today!