N. Gayathri

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Energy is the basic requirements of every person for maintenance of life, growth and physical output. Time can be planned and monitored according to the activity but it is not easy to plan and monitor the energy requirement as per the activity. It varies from person to person and is influenced by the activity. It varies from person to person and is influenced by the physical and physiological body parameter. The energy is obtained through the dynamic biochemical reactions in the body and is utilized for


  • Maintenance of basal metabolic process. Promoting growth
  • Regulation of body temperature
  • Performance of various physical activities

Energy is intangible. Energy resource occurs in limited amounts and its management should be directed toward maximizing as much possible the use of this valuable resource to ensure that you have enough energy remaining to meet your other demands. This necessitates becoming aware of our physical actions, and the effect of our attitudes upon this resource.


Energy in stages of life cycle


The energy demand of the home maker varies according to the stages of the family life cycle. Energy demands are usually lowest during stage I, beginning stage. If the homemaker works outside the home, however, the homemaker must learn to divide her energy between the demands of her outside work and her home responsibilities. In stage II, the period during which the family is expanding, children start going to school, meeting all the family demands both inside and outside the home requires a great deal of energy. When the children reach college and working stage, stage III contract stage begins. As their energy loads lighten at home, many homemakers resume professional and outside interests. During this stage energy supply may diminish and physical disabilities may require the reshaping of energy spending pattern.


A combination of several types of efforts like manual effort, mental effort, visual effort, torsal effort and pedal efforts are needed to perform any activity. The energy costs change according to the combination of the types of efforts used for each activity. In order to have well balanced energy expenditure pattern, the home maker need to know the energy costs of various activities. The energy costs are calculated based on the oxygen consumption per minute or the heart rate while performing the activity. The household tasks mentioned in the various studies have been classified according to energy costs as light, moderate, and heavy, and are given in table.


Most tiring activities


Many home makers indicated cleaning and caring for the house, washing and ironing tasks were most tiring. The use of resources time and energy are very important. Clear understanding on how energy can be managed is also important. Since time and energy are related resources, especially for the homemaker who has to go out for work, besides working in the house. Where ever more time is spent on a task, it also means a higher expenditure of energy resources.


Energy expenditure in various activities



Efforts used in home making activities


Whatever may be the activity to be performed, it requires several types of efforts like mental effort, visual effort, manual effort, tarsal effort and pedal effort. Each effort demands different quantity of energy expenditure.

Mental effort – It is required to do any task, even the routine tasks like cooking, cleaning, washing, etc. though these tasks are performed daily, still one has to think about the way in which it has to be performed and mentally organize the task in sequence.

Visual effort – It involves muscular movement of the eye and adjustment of vision to the object at different distances and lighting conditions continuously take place while performing any work.

Manual work – It is required for all the household activities to be performed like cooking, cleaning, mobbing and washing, etc.

Torsal effort – It involves movement of the torsal and hence is termed as torsal efforts. These include bending, leaning, raising, turning etc. These are needed in doing more strenuous activities have heavy energy demands.

Pedal effort – Some of the household activities require a combination of more than one type of effort. In ordered to have well balanced energy expenditure pattern, the home maker needs to know the energy cost of various activities and also which activity is most tiring one. The energy costs are calculated based on oxygen consumption per minute or on heart rate (beats per minute).


Ways of controlling energy expenditure


There are many ways which can control energy expenditure and reduce fatigue. The person performing the activities and the type of activity are deciding factors in choosing the methods of controlling energy expenditure. In any given job, energy consumption can be reduced by,


§   Developing an improved mental attitude towards the work to be done

§    Eliminating unnecessary steps or combining new steps and processes in work

§    Arranging steps in any activities in a sequence

§    Using efficient equipment and other materials for convenience

§    Arranging needed equipment and other materials according to convenience

§    Maintaining correct body posture while working

§    Developing rhythm in doing work

§    Improving skills and techniques

§    Doing work with rightly spaced adequate rest periods

§    Developing motivating conditions in work conditions

§    Body mechanics


Body mechanics


Body mechanics deals with the body movement. Body mechanics is science dealing with body forces and motions. The word ‘mechanics’ suggests a relationship to the functioning of the body. It was stated by ‘Esther CrewBratton’, your own body constitutes your most important item of household equipment. It is well worth the effort it takes to acquire understanding of how the body functions in work and to develop skill in using the body effectively.


Energy and work environment


Dr. Marvin Mundel has described five factors that influence the character of work environment. There are 5 important steps which influenced the energy and character of work environment.


1.   Change in hand and body motions.


The work can be simplified by using each part of the body properly and effectively. In doing any activity use many motions of body which are not at all needed. Focusing attention on how and which motions of the body can be eliminated is essential. Examples of this class of change can be noted in table setting, dish washing or sweeping and mopping of floors. Proper and economic use of each part of body is important.


Motions: There are seventeen basic work motions called ‘Therbligs’ defined by F. R. Gilbreth which can be identified and recorded by simple symbols in any specific household activity. The worker who is motion minded is aware about needed motions and plans her work accordingly. She will arrange her work place so that most of her body is resting while both hands work rhythmically from right to left. She should be alert and take advantage of the available help and avoid walking back to forth.


The most important principles of motion economy are summarized as follows: i) Keeping the body parts in alignment, ii) Using muscles effectively, iii) Rhythm in movements, iv) Considering the center of gravity both of the body and of articles handled, v) Taking advantage of momentum


2.   Change in equipment and work environment


Change in equipment may be sometimes expensive. The change of equipment and work is achieved by using labor saving devices, plan of work surfaces at proper height, depth and width with proper tools and sufficient storage devices and lighting facilities will also improve the efficiency of work. When the worker performs an activity, it is not only her skill in work that helps to simplify the work but along with it, the working conditions are also very important.


3.   Change in production sequence


Work done haphazardly creates confusion and chaos and causes delays. As there are number of activities to be done in the home, jobs such as cooking, children ready for school, packing lunch boxes, making up beds, each activity should be followed up in sequence. When there are many activities to be done in a shorter time one must also think of combining or dovetailing tasks. Individual activities can be improved by using sequencing of sub-tasks. Household activities are accomplished, time is saved by simplifying the work through combining the household tasks and avoiding the unnecessary steps during the activities. 

   4.   Change in finished product


The worker might have to change some of her standards or expectations about how the finished product should be in appearance, taste, shape and size. When clothes are ironed at home by the home maker, she can decide how it will be done. She should decide, does she want all clothes to be well pressed without single wrinkle?. In food preparation, whether the salad will be arranged on the platter in an attractive way at every meal or whether it can be served in a tossed form? If the finished product without any fancy decoration is accepted by the family then it makes the task simplified.


5.   Change in material


This change refers to the raw ingredients used in a product keeping the final product the same. For example using ready to use mixes available on market for preparing breakfast or lunch or even buying readymade products such as spices, sprouted beans and pulses, or frozen foods so on.




Fatigue is the tiredness which one feels after continuous of work. Posture and use of the body muscles are very important for performing a task. According to Barley, “Fatigue or tiredness is reactions of person as a whole situation as he consciously interprets and evaluates it. It is simply one form of inadequacy to meet the demands the person recognizes.


There are many factors of work which influenced fatigue there are,


§   Mental approach

§    Postural approach

§   Muscular tension

§    Amount of concentration

§    Adequate skill

§    Lack of work appreciation for the work done

§    Unfamiliar working condition

§    Frustration

§    Interruption

§    Unexpected demands on her time and energy


Types of fatigue


Fatigue may be classified into two types,


1.      Physiological fatigue

2.      Psychological fatigue


Physiological fatigue


Imbalanced posture while performing a task and inefficient use of these muscles and muscular effort causes physiological fatigue keeping the body parts and major body weights in well aligned position is essential to avoid fatigue at work.


Psychological fatigue


Sometimes fatigue may occur even when there is enough energy to do work .This will also result in reduced output. This is called as psychological fatigue. Just as physiological fatigue results in reduced output of work and aversion to work, similarly, psychological fatigue too results in an aversion to work further and reduced output. It is very difficult to define or measure, as it consists in rather vague subjective states. It is not localized in the body.


This can be classified into two types namely,


§    Boredom fatigue

§    Frustration fatigue


Boredom fatigue


This results from the non-coincidence of experiencing two durations of time, that of work being slow and irksome, and that of the mind which longs to be elsewhere. We experience the activity as continuing without change where as the mind is ready and eager for change. Studies have shown that the bored time at work was judged longer than to those not bored. Boredom appears probably that boredom increases sensitivity to objectionable features connected with work, such as noise, atmospheric conditions, troublesome materials etc, Dr. Bartley found the most boring period to be last hour of both morning and afternoon work periods.


Frustration fatigue


This may be regarded as an experimental pattern arising in a conflict situation in which the general alignment of the individual may be described as an aversion. This particular pattern involves feelings of limpness, bodily discomfort, and general tension which are undesirable as well as result in inadequacy for activity. When plans fail to work out and goals cannot be reached or when conflict situations arise which call for the weighing of alternatives in the making of decisions, and the seeking of new goals, a person may experience the feelings of frustration and increased tensions. Fatigue which results from such conflicts is a part of the total picture of frustration.


Causes of fatigue


As a background for considering the physiological and psychological aspects of fatigue, we can look at some common situations in which we experience fatigue, situations that are often associated with feelings of tiredness. These situations can be summarized in a nontechnical way, they are as follows;


A long period of mental or light physical work in a restricted or uncomfortable position A long period of work in a standing position


A long period of making continuous postural adjustments, such as when riding a car A period possibly short of heavy physical exertion Working at a disliked task

Working at an unaccustomed task


Working a task that requires close attention or extreme alertness Working under pressure, for instance, when meeting a deadline Working without sufficient knowledge or information


Emotional stress, whether working or not


Methods of relieving fatigue


The home maker can take some of the steps listed below to remove or avoid fatigue, so that she can continue to perform worker effectively.

§   Rest periods


The first method of removing fatigue is introduced rest periods in between the work. Rest periods are of value both for increasing output and for alleviating fatigue. The kind or rest periods should be related to the completeness of relaxation.


§    Having proper work place and proper equipment


Good environmental conditions, proper equipment like the table according to the homemaker’s height, adjustable shelves in the kitchen, etc. can also aid in reducing fatigue.


§    Appreciation of the work


When the home maker is appreciated by the family members for her work, it motivates her to do the work more effectively, without any complaints of feeling fatigued and appreciation also as an incentive for the worker.


§    Giving incentive to the worker


The homemaker can give incentive to her children to do work, like promise them that she will take them out if they help her in the work.




Managing energy involves the making of activity plans as well as carrying them out and evaluating the results. In energy planning knowledge of the energy costs of different activities, one’s skills and ability to turn out work and the effects of fatigue help to measure energy expenditures. Developing skills in fitting activities of daily living into the minutes and hours of the day conserves emotional and physical energy and stimulates greater efficiency in work. Skills of this kind lead to greater mental flexibility in the management of energy and in carrying out activity plans. Work simplification, the effective use of body in housework and the skillful performance of homemaking tasks are the tools enable a homemaker to conserve time and energy will be available for other activities and interests.

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