Monday, January 5, 2009

Get Fit ... The Eco Friendly Way

Before we get started on today's post, I have exciting news ... recently I was invited to write an article for Eazy Cheezy ... and it's being published today. It is a real honor to be asked to write for such a first class site. So if you have a few extra minutes, head over there and check it out. And a huge thank you to Eazy Cheezy for helping me spread the "green" word. OK ... on to today's subject:

Precisely at midnight on December 25th, advertisers stopped tempting us with tantalizing treats and set about convincing us that it is time to shape up. Turn on TV and you're sure to see a commercial for the latest exercise equipment ... home gyms, rubber bands and tubes designed to shape up our thighs, even bender balls which promise to give us firm abs. Enter a bookstore and you'll come face to face with the latest diet fad. There are powders and pills ... gym memberships ... exercise tights and shoes and leotards ... the list goes on and on. Those "before and after" commercials try to convince us that their system is the only system that will work ... and we must have it.

Unfortunately, it's a lot of stuff that costs a lot of money. And for most of us, it'll get shoved to the side or tossed out after the enthusiasm has worn off. Even if one is dedicated for longer than a month, the fact is that it's a lot of stuff ... stuff made out of less than eco-friendly materials ... stuff that may require the use of batteries or electricity ... stuff that ends up in our closets or worse ... a landfill. And that is especially sad when we have everything we need to get in shape ... without buying a thing. Here are a few ideas:

  • Walk! One of the easiest ways to improve one's health is to get out and walk. It's free ... no unusual equipment needs to be purchased ... no training required ... and it's totally earth friendly. Look for opportunities to walk instead of driving ... you'll prevent pollution, reduce gas consumption and get healthy. What a deal!

  • Take the stairs. I once lived in Phoenix, Arizona, for the summer (I know ... hottest part of the year ... call me crazy). There was a seven story parking garage near our apartment (we affectionately called it the "Purple Monster") and since doing much of anything during the day was just too stifling, we set our alarm for 3:00 am and hit the stairwell. We charged up seven flights of stairs to the open parking on the roof and then glided down the opposite set of stairs. As we got into better shape, we did more "reps" and even started jogging around the empty roof before walking home. So look around for opportunities to take the stairs ... guaranteed to set you on a road to fitness. And ... forgoing the elevator saves energy (while increasing yours).

  • Do chores. Have you ever noticed how physical it is to clean up a house or yard? Make your workout count double by cleaning up. Grab a rake and hit that yard full of leaves ... wash windows ... organize a garage ... sweep the deck ... change sheets on the bed. Reach, stretch and move ... you'll get a great workout ... and a clean space. And best of all ... using our own energy means we tread lightly on the earth.

Moving is only part of the fitness equation. Eating healthier is another part.
  • Eat organic. Foods which have been grown using pesticides are simply not the healthiest option ... not for us ... not for the earth. The effects of pesticides are not well understood and in some cases completely unstudied. So, minimizing our exposure to them is important. If going totally organic is not possible, try going organic with the following fruits and vegetables which are considered the 10 worst for pesticide load by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). EWG is a not-for-profit environmental research organization dedicated to improving public health and protecting the environment by reducing pollution in air, water and food. For more information visit them at

    • Peaches
    • Apples
    • Sweet Bell Peppers
    • Celery
    • Nectarines
    • Strawberries
    • Cherries
    • Lettuce
    • Imported Grapes
    • Pears
  • Eat local and in season. Food that has to travel across the country or across the world loses much of it's nutritional value in the process. And while I haven't exactly studied the nutritional value of foods grown in a greenhouse ... I do know that they taste nothing like the vegetables grown on my patio in the summer. So I'm guessing that those tasteless tomatoes that one can find in the grocery stores in December ... aren't as nutritionally viable as we'd like. And all that travel in refrigerated trucks causes pollution and uses valuable resources. So eat local and in season.

  • Go meatless. Eating vegetables and a plant-based diet is healthy. Even if going totally "veg" is undesirable, try including a few meatless meals in your weekly menu. Your body will thank you ... the earth will thank you.

  • East less processed food. The more natural the food ... the better for you. Processed food is full of sodium, fat and sugar ... and a few other things that I don't recognize and can't pronounce. Let's face it ... if we need a degree if organic chemistry to understand the label .. we don't need it. The next time you're tempted to pick up a can of soup or a box of "helper", check the label ... I'll bet you find high sodium levels and fat. Think that "fat free" cake is any better? Think again ... most "fat free" products make up for the loss of flavor by kicking up the sugar. And anything that includes partially hydrogenated oil (which shows up in a lot of processed food) is really harmful. Here's a tip ... shop the perimeters of the grocery store and you'll eat healthier.

Getting fit doesn't have to cost a lot ... or add more "stuff" to an already cluttered world. It just takes a little creativity ... and a lot of will.

As always ... I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Thanks for the mention Small Footprints. I love the work you did on the article & it was quite an honor to publish it. Here is the direct link,

    For anyone who uses Digg, please do Digg Small Footprint's article. I'd love to see this reach the front page of Digg as it would help spread the awareness. Here's the Digg Link.

    For Get Fit..The Eco Friendly Way, I'm starting to walk more, drive less and park further away from stores I have to drive to. Love the tips, as always, I'll continue to try to be better. Outstanding work as always.

  2. Great advice for all those New Year's Resolutions! I'm a walker, walking anywhere and anyhow I can. It's a great activity with benefits far beyond the physical ones.

  3. I am going to go check out your article!
    I am so bad! I hate winter, even if it is here in southern California, now come summer time.... I will be at the lake, the ocean, walking. Oh I need to get out and do these things now! LOL

  4. You kindly checked out my blog and asked a question. I'm new to this. If I just add a comment on my blog will you automatically get an answer?
    When you inhibit the reuptake (take it back in) leave more serotonin in the synapse (gap)....this causes you to be in a better mood.

  5. My goal this year is to go meatless at least 1x a week.

    Since my hubs is a "meat and potatoes" guy, This is not going to be easy. We have been talking about his health lately, so maybe he will go for it:)

    I also "dugg" this article. 73 so far! Good job!

  6. Thanks for your quick response. I don't know how you do it with all the people commenting on your site....
    I hope you have lots of serotonin in your synapses (lol)
    (ydntrtt) you don't need to respond to this :)

  7. My goal this year is to eat less meat and stay away from buffets. It's soooo hard. I think I read your post like 3 times, just to make sure I dont miss anything.

    Thanks for sharing/reminding us how the simplest of things can improve our lives.


  8. I've missed a few of your posts. But I particularly like this one. I do try to eat organic fruits and veggies, and I ALWAYS raid the local produce stands throughout the summer. YAY!!!

    As one of my New Years resolutions is to exercise more and eat less (the top two ways to lose weight) I have been taking the stairs. (I'm not walking up 14 flights quite yet though) In addition, I'm walking around my neighborhood before I get ready for work.

    Speaking of housework, I have a slew of it scheduled for tonight!!! :)

  9. Oh ... and how long does tofu last in the refrigerator? I have a feeling I should toss out the stuff I have ... it's been there a good long while.

  10. hey!

    thanks for your comments on my blog - your a doll.

    i need to send ALL of my friends & family over to read your "Get Fit...The Eco Friendly Way" because I have been saying all of this for years. Maybe they'll believe me now [smile]

    one thing i need to work on...eating are sooo right on this too.

    thank you, kindly, for your blog...right down my alley.


  11. I definitely agree that doing housework can really give you a good workout, especially things like mopping the floor, or scrubbing the whole toilet! No kidding, really, the amount of sweat all that activity creates. I know - because I do my own housework!

    And I would like to suggest jogging or running or swimming too. They don't harm the environment too, and sure keeps you fit :) And you know why I know that too ;)

    Great post, Small Footprints!

  12. Great advice, I always feel much more alive when I'm eating well and try to have as natural, local and organic a diet as possible. Being veggie helps too.
    I sometimes can't believe what I used to eat in my younger, very unhealthy days!!
    I walk to work every day now too and will never go back to using the car.
    Your blog is inspiring with loads of great info! :0)

  13. I am very impressed with your ability to make such doable suggestions. I love the mention of doing chores. I will be fifty next month and my MIL is always asking how I manage to have such tone upper arms. I don't lift weights, I mop, sweep, scrub, dust and so forth. I USE them. Amazing what happens when you don't have a housekeeper to do that stuff.
    I also appreciate the list of produce that is bad for pesticides. It's good to know when you can't always find organic.
    Off to see the EC article.

  14. I love the article! CONGRATS AND BIG SMILES!

    I do a lot of those things and it feels good to contribute. I had to laugh - when I read "turn off lights" I noticed the over-head light was blaring in my face here in my study - so I got up and turned it off! I usually do not turn that light on or need it in here - funny how you adjust to something without noticing it - so, there you go...the article just saved some money and energy by drawing my attention to that light!

  15. To SweetPeaSurry ... my motto with food is: When in doubt, toss it out. I know it seems wasteful but I'd rather waste it than get sick with food poisoning. Tofu should be stored in water, in the refrigerator ... and the water should be changed every day. Most manufacturers will tell you that it will last about a week ... I've kept tofu for longer than that. But I do check it thoroughly before using it ... if it smells, looks bad or feels slimy, it gets the boot.

    Great question!

    Small Footprints

  16. Congratulations on getting your article published. That's great news.

  17. Thinking about the amount of pesticides used on fruit, you've encouraged me to place an order for some fruit trees! We already have an apple tree, gooseberry and raspberry bushes and grow vegetables. We're vegetarian, but I still have to watch how many packets of crisps, etc. I eat!

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post..... think I'll start Spring-cleaning soon. :)

  18. I recently saw a video called something like "How much stuff do you need?". It was amazing and I have never forgotten it. I really have bought a lot less since then. How much stuff does a person really need? Really? How much? Not much, I know now.

  19. Hi

    Thanks for dropping by my blog and left such encouraging feedback. May I link you on my blog? Will take time to come here and read yours.


  20. congrads on your article sf! you deserve it.

    another great post by you, cheers :-)

  21. Excellent, sensible advice as always!

    For all those trying to lose weight and shape up there is a new marketing spectre to watch out for now. Easter Eggs! Yes, I saw Easter Eggs on the shelves yesterday.

    Well done on your guest post too. I will pop over and have a look later.

  22. Great stuff. A couple years ago, my wife bought a treadmill with the birthday money she was given. I've ended up using it much more than she. I'm about to go on it, in fact. It's much less difficult to do if I watch one of my favorite TV shows or listen to some good music while on it. Though it's cold outside, I've no excuse not to walk.