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The ''Real'' Woman's Workout

Find Ways to be Inefficient
  -- By Carrie Myers Smith, Health & Fitness Writer

Recently, while bringing the wood in for our woodstove, a friend of ours said, "With all those boys, you’re bringing in the wood?" By "all those boys," he was referring to our four sons. I quickly explained to him that while we do have the boys help out with the wood, I often volunteer to do it myself, because it gives me some exercise on the days I don’t otherwise work out. In fact, I purposely only carry in two pieces of wood at a time, so that I have to make extra trips in and out, increasing its cardio effect. "Consider it the Country-Girl’s Workout!" I quipped. Well, we both got a good chuckle out of that, but it brought up a very valid point: you can find fitness in many aspects of your own life that you may not normally consider. Here’s another example:

At one of my sons’ soccer tournaments, we had to park quite a ways from the field, because the parking lots were filled up (not to mention they were playing at the field furthest from where we were parked!). My reaction? "Cool! Time to get a little cardio action in!" I offered to carry the chairs and backpack, knowing it would just give me that much more of a workout. But the reaction of those around me wasn’t quite so positive. "I can’t believe we have to walk so far just to get to the field!" and "We should have just driven around – there must have been some empty spots somewhere that would have been closer."

My kids can give many examples of times we walk when it’s not really necessary, usually when running errands and shopping. You see, when you change your mind about physical activity, you will inevitably change your body. Studies show that just by adding moderate activity to your daily repertoire, you will positively change your health status. This moderate activity includes doing things such as parking further from your destination and hoofing it, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, raking your lawn, hoeing your garden, doing your housework with vigor. Yes, I said vigor! What? Haven’t you ever done the polka with your vacuum?<pagebreak>

Here’s another one: purposely being inefficient. That can be a tough one to swallow, because we work so hard in our society to be efficient. My bringing in wood is a good example of inefficiency. Maybe you don’t heat with wood. How about purposely making extra trips from the car to the house with the grocery bags? Rather than load up on as many bags as you possibly can (and we all know how many we can carry, just barely brushing the ground and yet, not really touching it at all!), carry just one in each hand, briskly walking to and from the house.

You see, finding fitness throughout your day doesn’t just happen by chance. You must make it happen! You must live consciously, rather than subconsciously (or in some of our cases unconsciously!), living intentionally, rather than unintentionally. Just floating through your days without really thinking about what you’re doing will keep you heading on the same course you’re currently headed, in which case you must ask yourself: is the destination desirable?