Exercise: your options!

January 31, 2009

So, it’s pretty much the end of January.  We’ve had a month to make and break various resolutions.  Except maybe you haven’t broken them!  And maybe you haven’t made them.  Both work for me.  This year I do actually have 2, though, and I haven’t broken either of them:

  1. Run the Charlottesville 10 miler
  2. Get married to my best friend.

Yep.  Short and sweet.  One I’m looking forward to a little more than the other; take a guess.  🙂

But in all seriousness, when I moved out in September, I did kind of resolve to get my butt back into shape and in January I realized that I had actually been successful so far.  And I felt like having a reason to get in better shape would be extra motivating as I continued, hence the race.  Obviously, good health is the best and really only reason you need, but that extra toning isn’t really a minus when you’re wearing a wedding dress in a few months.  I also happen to really like distance running (I know, I know), and rediscovered that love after leaving the flat golf course 5ks in the midwest and the ridiculously hilly, rainy, and very urban Seattle runs I tried a few times.  I’m lucky in that I live right in between Rock Creek and Sligo Creek Parks.  Both have gorgeous running trails.  And I figure all this prep will help when I try out for Maryland ultimate club teams.

But what does this all have to do with green weddings?  Well, I decided that there are probably others for whom getting married is a pretty good motivator for getting in shape, and that some of you out there may be doing just that.  Also, I will be married in several months, and I plan on keeping this blog going to document how I’m working towards greening my life.  So I thought that this would be a good overlapping post: staying in shape is something I’m planning on  doing even after I’m no longer a green bride, but in the meantime, it’s also something I’m doing for my wedding.

My thoughts on greening an excercise routine begin the same way greening everything in life does: use less.  Really, you don’t need a whole lot of fancy equipment (well, at least this thing isn’t electric) that take resources to build and use and ship and will eventually get thrown in a dump.  All you need is your own body and some proper footwear and clothing.  And if you already have those things (body, check!), then you’re good to go!  Break out those high school gym shorts!  They’re in again!  Well, maybe… And then, go for a run, pace and length up to you.  Easy, right?  Um, yeah.  Well, here are a few free interweb tools to help you out that I’ve found useful:

  • www.dailymile.com for tracking distances and seeing how well you’re doing and for keeping track of races and such!  It’s actually pretty fun; if you join, you should friend me, and we can keep each other motivated.
  • mapmyrun.com lets you map your own route, and you don’t have to stick to streets.  I haven’t used it that much yet, but it seems really helpful for trail runs and the like, when you can’t measure mileage on GoogleMaps (my usual go-to for quick mileages).  Who needs expensive pedometers that use batteries?
  • there’s lots of exercise calorie counters out there, but here’s one that apparently has lots of different types of exercises, in case you want to track all those shopping for wedding dress calories or something…from BodyBuilding.com.

But I should also admit that I’m far from perfect.  I have kind of wussy excuses (the cold, dry air totally exacerbates my asthma!  It’s dark when I get out of work!), but I don’t always get to do the outdoors thing.  I do use the gym at my apartment building and the gym at work.  And I run on the treadmills, which uses a whole lot of electricity.  Whenever I can, though, I get outside, which is better for the environment and just a lot more enjoyable.  I also participate in classes at my work, ’cause not only am I not using that energy on the ‘mill, but I get to hang out with awesome old broads at Dance ‘n Tone!  But there is at least one “green” gym” (Portland’s Green Microgym) out there, and maybe you could convince your gym to get greener treadmills when replacing old machines for a happy compromise.  And if you decide to get your own machine, look on (get ready for my familiar refrain) freecycle and craigslist first.  But again, you can’t do better than using your own body to get someplace or do something, and by doing so, you’re ensuring that both you and the planet can keep doing just that for a long time.

And now I’ll share my last secrets.

  1. I joined Sparkpeople.com.  It’s totally cheesy, and there’s lots of ads, but there’s also lots and lots of tools, groups, and people to motivate you.  And I really like earning points.  It’s kept me on track for a whole lot longer than any other self-motivation I’ve tried (team sports are the only other thing that works for me, and the only team sport I play is ultimate, so there you go).  There’s even an environmentalist SparkTeam.
  2. I watch The Biggest Loser on Hulu.  I don’t really get into reality tv that much usually, but for whatever reason, this show is GOOD.  I’ve cried.  And it’s my dirty secret, so don’t tell, kay?  Well, Jason already knows and he still loves me, so I’m okay with it, actually.  But health is such a big part of my life, between my medical profession relatives, having a loved one with cancer, and my own choice to go into a medical field, and this show just hits the nail on the head as far as the right way to live your life for the right reasons.  That’s my justification, anyway.

As always, thanks for reading!  And don’t you love how I posted this just in time for Superbowl snacking?  ❤