Modern technology has afforded all of us many advantages over our ancestors. We can communicate at the click of a computer button, whereas they had to dial and spend a significant amount of money just to reach their family and friends abroad. Cooking is now ten times faster with many more kitchen gadgets that cut food preparation time. We've little need for maps now that the GPS is installed in many cars and compasses are now just decorative items in homes, part of a forgotten process for finding your way.
When we went to visit my friend's farm and helped out with the daily chores, I realized how much we've been babied by all the gadgets and machines that we use every day. Even if I spend three times a week at the gym working out, I couldn't keep up with all the things they needed to do to keep the farm running every day. It really woke me up to the possibilities of working out the natural way, using my muscles to do some good, and not just for an aesthetic purpose. You see, baling hay and cleaning horse stalls burned double the calories I usually burn a week at the gym.
Even after heavy meals three times a day, I was in the best shape and felt better about my health.
This inspired me to take the natural way to exercise, to lose weight the old-fashioned way, and work all of the muscles in my body. Taking the unplugged way to exercise really motivated me and helped me to focus my energy on things that I was usually too distracted to think about. One morning, I lost the ear buds to my iPod while I was working out. Not only did I focus more on my sticking to my routine, I also exerted more effort because I was totally aware of what I was doing. Running around the neighborhood became safer because I heard everything that was going on around me, and the concentration on my running gave me more energy. Now I run longer, faster, and burn more calories than I did before.
Here are a few ideas I found to get off the machines at the gym, save on the membership money, and actually work off the calories:
- Volunteer at your local build-a-home site: Even if you're not handy with power tools, just carrying the lumber at your local volunteer site that build homes for the less fortunate can be a great workout. Help to paint the walls or spackle on the concrete over drywall. Just be careful around the site for items you might step or slip on.
- Do the chores at home: Break out the old lawnmower and step off from the riding mower. Doing things manually, like lawn-cutting and car-washing, will save you money and give you nice muscle definition. Walk your dog too, and volunteer to walk your neighbor's dog. Exercise and helping out work come together this way, and you'll get
brownie points around the house.
- Start a home improvement project: Whether starting a garden, repainting the walls, or changing the wallpaper, these things can work out muscles you've never worked before! Plus, just think about how proud you'll be that they new additions to your home were done by yours truly.
- Weight training with items around the home: Using ropes and heavy items around the house is an inexpensive alternative to lifting weights. Use bottles filled with water or heavy books as weights, and add on when you feel comfortable enough with a heavier load.
- Take the stairs whenever you can: One of the best cardio workouts available, the stairs are a great way to exercise naturally. Live on the sixth floor of your apartment building? Trade the crowded elevator for a sprint up the stairs.
- Walk or bike if it's near: Burn calories and save gas at the same time by walking or biking when the destination is close by. Running errands a few blocks away? Leave the car behind and walk to where it is. Picking a few items up at the convenience store? Take the bike. This will also leave you to think about the items you really need to buy for that store trip, and will have you spending less on impulse buys.
Maxine is a dedicated mother who believes in fitness for herself and her family to keep them healthy mentally and physically. When not with her family, she works for Treetopia, a seller of artificial Christmas trees. They sell a variety of unique and inspired Christmas trees for every style.