Where There Is No Gym

By , February 16, 2017

This winter, I started a gym routine for myself on the homestead. Why would I do that? Isn’t homesteading enough work?

The truth is, I don’t do that much work around the homestead any more. My job in town takes up a lot of time and energy. Especially in the winter, I’m not here much during daylight hours. Most homestead tasks are easier and safer in the daylight.

When Mom and I are home for the weekend, Dad, our homesteader-in-chief, also celebrates his weekend to a large extent, focusing on family time while family’s available.

Big outdoor projects are rare in winter. It’s easy and comfortable to hang out in the living room with the family, knitting and talking.

When I was a high schooler, I assumed that living on the homestead made me automatically more fit and active than your average teen. Silly me! I spent a lot of time on the couch with a book or a math project while homeschooling (see Unschooling: Self-Directed Learning on the Homestead). Other than walking back and forth to town once or twice a week, and occasionally chopping some wood, I wasn’t particularly active.

I’m determined not to fall back into that complacent mindset. Armed with a variety of exercises and techniques from my fitness family in Olympia (see Don’t Forget the Sledgehammer!) I head out into the yard every weekend intending to use as many muscles as I can.

If it’s dry enough, I sweep the flattest part of our yard free of branches and spruce cones, then attempt rolls, cartwheels, and other moves that require space and a more-or-less level surface.

For an extra challenge, roll up a slight incline. (Photo: Sarah A. Zeiger.)

For an extra challenge, roll up a slight incline. (Photo: Sarah A. Zeiger.)

I found a tree branch of the right size and height to use as a chin up bar. My favorite rope swing is now a temporary climbing rope. With enough imagination and growing self-confidence, I have a work out to be proud of.

Twice a week, this branch bears strange fruit indeed! (Photo: Sarah A. Zeiger.)

Twice a week, this branch bears strange fruit indeed! (Photo: Sarah A. Zeiger.)

So why do I do this?

I didn’t actually ask this question when I started. I simply missed my work out group and wanted to do something to remind myself of them. Then I went outside.

I’m not quite satisfied with the idea that I’m working out instead of helping with homestead tasks, but I’m not going to stop. Not all homestead tasks engage my core muscles. I want to have the ability to climb a rope or do a forward roll. Can I stand on my head? The answer is not yet. So I keep trying.

It could be called a form of self-improvement. I want to do things I can’t do yet. So I work out, in the woods, without a gym. And boy, do I have fun!

It feels much higher than it really is when your rope has a habit of spinning. (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

It feels much higher than it really is when your rope has a habit of spinning. (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

 

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