Dr Darwin explains the difference between work and play:
When our muscular actions are excited by our sensations of pleasure, it is termed play; when they are excited by our volition, it is termed work; and the former of these is attended with less fatigue, because the muscular actions in play produce in their turn more pleasurable sensation; which again has the property of producing more muscular action. An agreeable instance of this I saw this morning. A little boy, who was tired with walking, begged of his papa to carry him. “Here,” says the reverend doctor, “ride upon my gold-headed cane;” and the pleased child, putting it between his legs, gallopped away with delights, and complained no more of his fatigue.
From Zoonomia by Erasmus Darwin