I have a secret…
…I don’t “workout”. I don’t own any workout DVDs, and I certainly do not own a treadmill or any such indoor exercise machine.
Instead, in an effort to use motored vehicles as little as possible, I use errands, shopping, and other such duties as an important source of exercise.
That’s not to say that I never do recreational exercise—in fact, I partake in it all the time! But I do not have the mindset of: this is the time I have to “workout”, for x minutes. It is quite a freeing mindset– free from all the “rules) of working out.
Of course, in no way am I putting down those who find workouts most helpful in their lives, but I would like to suggest a different way of thinking about exercise—not only a tool for health and well being, but as an efficient way to get chores and errands done!
For myself, living in a small town setting, I can get many places on foot, bike, and if I’m in a hurry or have too big of a load, the local bus service. This is only the case at the moment though—big changes are coming when we move to the Detroit metro area in June!
For different people living in different settings, the strategy for their “no-plan workout” would call for different measures. For more eco friendly errand exercise, here are a few of my thought for:
Rural living—depending on how far away you live from a town or city with what you need, you want bike or bus into town. Then bike or bus (depending on the size of said town/city and the mode of transport to get there) around to do what you need to do. Example: my grandmother lives ten or so miles from the nearest helpful town (farther for stores like cosco, where she shops).
Small town living: where there isn’t often the things you need within a short distance. Sometimes bus systems can take you to the useful places, and I have built up my strength to be able to bike as much as about thirty miles reasonably easily. When carrying heavy loads of shopping, it can be very difficult to walk in these circumstances, and installing a rack on your bike made a huge different for me. It keeps the stress off your shoulders and just makes your feet work a bit harder.
Big city living: possibly the easiest for getting your business done while working your body, big cities have plenty of shopping outlets within a resonable distance. Suburbs (where we’ll live, when moving to the Detroit metro area), if your bike/walk plans fails, often have public trasnport to get you to the useful places as well.
Of course, here are always more options than walking or biking to get your business done. I also love roller blading (although I tend to do that recreational). Basically, do whatever floats your boat: skate boarding biking, walking, running, rolling. Heck– you could even kayak if you live on a river! The idea is to move your body, feel good, all while getting your errands accomplished.
However, sometimes, I feel like exercising, but I don’t feel like running an errand (it can add a bit of stress if you HAVE to get to the store before x time). Other times, I am having a super lethargic day and I don’t feel like doing anything, let alone biking ten miles to and from the natural food store for my mom. If it’s not too pressing, you can leave it off until another day or improvise with something closer to you. But I don’t recommend forcing yourself into situations if your body is clearly not up for. There is such a thing as going too far, and a bus or car are godsends in these situations.
One last thing: in no way do I want to bash people who like workout DVDs, the treadmill, etc. I would simply like to present a new frame of thinking– to use exercise as an important tool to prevent the decay of the environment.
What are your views on “working out”?