All-Natural Exercise

A couple of years ago I signed up for a gym membership at Gold’s Gym and, as part of their new member program, I got two free visits with a personal trainer. The young lady sat me down and went through a list of questions to see what I could handle, I suppose. Near the top of the list she asked, “What type of exercise do you do currently?”

“Oh, well,” I said, casting my eyes about in hope the answer might be written somewhere on the wall. “I hike. I walk a lot. And I garden.”

She grinned and then couldn’t hold back a laugh. “Now that is an answer I haven’t heard before,” she chuckled. “Gardening? I’ll put you down for ‘minimal exercise.'”

Every now and again I think back on that question and that poor clueless girl. I eventually quit the gym for the reason most people do; it bored me, so when I missed a day due to my erratic travel schedule, one day suddenly became a week, until somehow months had passed between treadmill attempts. Shortly after quitting the gym, I lost about 20 pounds. We had just moved into the new house and I found myself outside digging near daily during the summer. In the fall I had my firefighter-spouse teach me the appropriate stance for chopping wood without losing a limb, and the axe became my go-to tricep-building tool. The great pond experiment started shortly thereafter, and I spent an entire winter wheelbarrowing loads of dirt from the driveway  across the yard to dump into our giant hole.

This morning, the aching in my leg from stomping on the spade was at least offset by the difficulty I had in gripping my coffee cup thanks to the axe. Akira, my canine garden helper, helped me walk it off.

“Minimal exercise.” Girl, until you’ve really gardened, you don’t know what you’re missing!

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