As I watched my husband shovel the snow that was supposed to measure 1-3 inches when we woke up but magically turned into 8-10 overnight, like evil fairy dust, I thought about something PastaQueen wrote last month. In her blog entry, “Going to the gym is ridiculous,” she said: “I think it odd that our culture has developed to a point where we now have to set aside a block of time every day to do something our bodies were meant to do everyday anyway.”
Wouldn’t it be awesome if all the energy we spent exercising could go to some greater good beyond just sculpted calves and lower cholesterol? I’m just an English major, but surely some scientist could find a way to hook up those treadmills, stair steppers, ellipticals, bikes, and rowing machines to generate electricity, right? Think of it, especially with all the newbies joining gyms in January. In just a few weeks we could probably generate enough electricity to keep New York City in lights for months! We’d be more than simply mice on wheels.
I just came in from feeding birds. Their feeders were covered in snow and I felt guilty sitting here eating a smoothie while they pecked away at the empty containers hoping to dislodge just one, sad little sunflower or thistle seed. So I put on my “snow” pants (the size-larger stretch pants that go over the real pants), pulled on my boots, wrapped a scarf, zipped up the liner jacket, then the outer jacket, and put on a hat and gloves. For 15 fifteen minutes I plodded through knee-deep snow, then went back in the house, stripped back down to normal clothes, and sat in my office and watched several dozen happy birds eat lunch.
Fifteen minutes on the elliptical doesn’t give me that kind of warm fuzzy.
I know the economy is in the tank and he’s got more important things to think about then how to generate energy from crazyass gym folks, but maybe Barack Obama could ask his new energy secretary, Steven Chu, to find a few minutes to ponder it. He’s a physicist. Isn’t that what physicists do? Think all day about movement?
Call me Buck Rogers I guess. All this snow is making me a little punchy. But it’s also making me think outside the box of gym equipment. We’re supposed to keep exercise interesting and fun or it gets boring and we quit, right? So what kinds of things do you do or would like to do that incorporate exercise and the greater good, beyond your own physical health?
I’ll think about it, too, and let you know what I come up with. Besides feeding birds and shoveling my next-door neighbors walk, I’m at a loss. I look forward to your thoughts.