There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick links helpful:
Last week's challenge was such a fun and creative activity. We unplugged our exercise routines and rather than use electric devices (treadmills, DVDs, etc.) to get us moving, we used our own power. Some folks shared that not having the distraction of these devices made their workout a bit harder ... others embraced the idea and looked for energy-free opportunities to get a good workout. I really liked this challenge because it helped me turn exercise into meditation. Without the "noise" I was able to be fully present and concentrate on each movement. The result was an activity which not only benefited my body ... but my mind as well.
The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments. Let's see what they had to say this week:
If you're thinking that the electric treadmill doesn't really use that much electricity, check out Stephanie's article, Greenercising. I think you'll be surprised ... I was! She outlines ten ways to green up our routine, including some thoughtful advice about the clothing we wear, towels and even the food we eat before and after a workout.
I loved Kim's comments. In her words "I'm a day late, but here are a few simple ones that I can think of off the top of my head. Use an old fashioned broom instead of a vacuum or rechargeable broom. Sweep the corners and stretch and bend. Sing loudly while doing it, instead of putting on a stereo or headphones. When you're done, go beat out your rugs. And when you're my age, you can also just get plenty of exercise simply by forgetting what you went up or down the stairs for, resulting in multiple trips. ;)" Thanks, Kim ... you gave me new perspective on aging and memory. :-)
Alicia has a Total Gym which uses one's own weight for resistance. She also enjoys walking in the country while listening to "music from nature". Nice!
"If every Canadian lowered the heat a few degrees this winter, it'd be like taking 300,000 vehicles off the road!" That's just one of the gems you'll find in Ann's Thursday Theme Song/Save the world:save your energy for me. She suggests ways to reduce energy use and even shares a video.
Rewinn wrote Restarting Fitness For Net Energy Gain where he talks about how moving changed his exercise routine. Frankly, his new home isn't close to a gym so exercise fell to the wayside. But then he discovered a place which is convenient, offers interesting classes for all fitness levels, is inexpensive and gives him a sense of community. It even offers him an opportunity to contribute to scholarships. Curious? Head over to "his place" to find out what he's doing.
In Living Without Electricity ~ Hypothetically Andrea ponders the idea of living without any power ... not windmill driven or solar power ... nothing. She asks, "What happens when the wind stops blowing, when the water dries up or freezes, or what about when the sun’s not shining?" She goes on to suggest ways that we can be less dependent. Then, she wrote Living Without Electricity: Washing Clothes By Hand. Wow ... could you take it on? Andrea's articles are wonderful and so is her ability to engage her readers ... be sure to read the comments because her readers have a lot to contribute!
Mrs. Green has spent this month talking about heart health ... and exercise is a big part of keeping our hearts in tip-top condition. But getting ourselves motivated and then sticking with a routine can be challenging. So, like many of us, Mrs. Green employs some tricks ... listening to music or multitasking while using a treadmill ... things designed to make the time go fast and help us forget about the effort we're putting out. So the question becomes ... if we are more likely to exercise with the "tricks", should we use them or should we risk not working out in order to protect the environment? In Why exercising could be bad for the environment, you'll find out how Mrs. Green decided to answer that question.
EcoGrrl doesn't own a car and uses her bike to commute everywhere. So she's way ahead of most of us in the exercise department (bet she's in great shape). Check out what she says about her gym ... "There are manual ellipticals & treadmills and, here in pdx at least, energy producing machines a la those at my gym, http://thegreenmicrogym.com/ - take a video tour, its awesome! :)" Wow, EcoGrrl ... that gym is awesome ... and innovative!
La Alicia has a fun activity ... "When it's too cold to walk outside, I love to hula hoop in my living room. It's a great work out for your abs, gets your heart rate up and usually gets me on a giggle spree! :)" I especially like the "giggle" factor.
I knew someone would come up with this suggestion. :-) And I love how our friend Brian puts it ..."I know an exercise that can be done with no electricity at all and it burns more calories than any other. You can do it during the winter or the summer. Now, all you need is your significant other and some private time. Yes, I'm being serious! I promise you this is the greenest method of burning the most calories. There are countless other benefits to this exercise too."
CelloMom gets big bonus points for her creative idea. Here's a hint ... she does this exercise in the garage, builds upper body strength but doesn't have to lift any weight and saves money. Have you figured it out? You'll find the answer in Keeping up the pressure. Fabulous, CelloMom!
Argentum Vulgaris' idea comes with a "Government Warning: Married men, do not attempt this trick in your own home. It can lead to fatal injuries or, minimally, certain aspects of conjugal life to be severely rationed." Oh my!! Better run over HERE to get the details!
Nicole B. says "I love the fact that household chores are considered exercise (since most days it seems like chores are about all that I do in the category of exercise). BUT just because temperatures are cold and there may be snow doesn't mean you should stay inside. There are lots of great ways to exercise outside in the winter, even if it is snowy. I love to get winter exercise by shoveling snow or putting on my cross country skis and taking my dog on a walk." Hm ... chores as exercise ... I like it!
Kelly has challenged herself to exercise more ... so she decided to combine that challenge with this one. She came up with some unusual ideas. She's going to make use of military basics, a sack of flour and multiple trips. Have I peaked your interest? Check out her post HERE. Thanks, Kelly ... I'm so glad you've joined our CTWW family!
In Pull the Plug: 10 Electricity Free Home Activities Jacqueline shares some terrific ideas ... not just for exercising but for other things we typically do in our homes. One of her ideas involves coffee, another has to do with letters and still another includes a snow storm. Oh you know you want to go and read this one!
Miss T enjoys Pilates and says that the only electricity used was for the lights in the room. Nice!
Even though Katie suggested this challenge, she says that it came right when she was really enjoying gym activities. But Katie is a trouper and gave some serious thought to her workouts. In this POST she outlines her plan which includes exercising at home during the day (so as not to use lights). So how did she do? Find out in this challenge UPDATE. I think the exercise while cooking idea sounds fascinating!
McBride's Organic Farm Daily picked up CTWW articles in not just one but two of their editions. WhooHoo! You'll find them HERE and HERE. One edition includes one of your articles ... was it yours? Be sure to browse around ... the paper contains all kinds of interesting information.
We had some great comments by our Twitter friends:
-I choose to workout at home as its more economical & eco friendly. I'm in a rural location & choose not to drive to the gym.
-I use my travel dvd player for my workouts. It uses a rechargeable battery that I can recharge with our solar pack.
-Our elliptical only uses a bit of power for the display, which I plug in to our small solar pack. :)
-I'm guilty of using elliptical & DVDs for workouts. On the plus side, I take 2 walks minimum daily outdoors as well as use stairs.
-I practice yoga at home w/ & w/out dvds. I guess I'm guilty - I just purchased Kathryn Budig's Aim True workout.
-This weeks eco challenge: workout w/o the use of electricity. U Runners know what to do, go outside & leave the garmin/ipod at home.
-that's easy the only exercise I get is walking and carrying my toddler
-For my #CTWW challenge, I haven't plugged in my elliptical in yrs, I use it as is. Trips up & down the stairs w/'stuff' as weights also good
-my two favorite excercise activities are both unplugged. TRX (do-it-all straps) and my bike (to get places)
From a previous challenge on food, Joanna (aka @RubbishGeek) wrote Top 5 foody waste (and money) saver websites. Wow ... what a collection of useful sites. There are tools to help us understand the appropriate quantities to cook, recipe suggestions for the items we don't know what to do with and even a site that offers information on the shelf life of foods (the date on the can isn't always the best indicator). I've bookmarked her post ... it's a resource that I'll be returning to often.
And finally, while not exactly a CTWW mention, Reduce Footprints was listed in a wonderful new directory that I want to share with all of you. It's on the True Imagination Station site (just scroll down and click on the badge which says "Come Visit Our World Link Center". Then, on the next page, scroll down until you find the words "Welcome To The World Link Center!". Using the slide bar to the right, you'll see a list of sites to explore.) Thanks so much to Renee & Sharon for including Reduce Footprints ... it's truly an honor to be listed among such important sites.
The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:
My Final Thoughts: Most people will say that maintaining an exercise routine is tough. There are so many gadgets and machines available these days to help us get going and keep going ... but there's an environmental cost to them. Many are made of plastic and use electricity ... most of them are designed to be obsolete in a short amount of time which is wasteful and contributes to our already overflowing landfills. As we've seen this week, we can keep ourselves healthy by simply moving our bodies. It might not be as much fun as using the gizmos and gadgets ... but then again, that might just be a state of mind.
Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share feature at the bottom of this post.
This Week's Challenge:
Are you ready for more? This week's challenge comes from EcoGrrl. It's a good one!
This week create a recycle bin for all the non-curbside recyclables - batteries, CFL bulbs, misc. plastics, etc. - and then find out where to recycle them.
If you're already a recycling "guru", please tell us about your toughest items to recycle and how you've managed it. And, of course, any tips and ideas you have for recycling would be wonderful!
Special Announcement: Next week we will again be participating in the Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast which is an initiative of the New England Regional Environmental Ministries of the United Church of Christ. Beginning on February 22nd and continuing through April 8th, we'll challenge ourselves with daily activities. Yep ... DAILY! Wow! While the event is sponsored by a religious organization, one doesn't need to be a member of their church ... or a member of any church ... to participate. It was a fun event last year and my feeling is that "green" ideas from any source are good. So, I hope you'll join us. Since I'm not sure about the time each challenge will appear in my inbox, my posts will probably be a bit later than normal. Stay tuned ... it promises to be interesting!
If you have a challenge for us, please send it to me HERE.
Until next time ...
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!