Photo credit: Jacki Donaldson

I’m borrowing the following quote from a friend’s Facebook wall, because it illustrates a point I want to make:

“I don’t feel like going to the gym, I am am going to take C on a bike ride to Publix to get the things I would have had to pick up on the way home from the gym.”

Not a bad idea, to make fitness part of the normal routine, and not something extra that must be fit into an already-busy schedule. That’s what makes exercise seem so daunting, right? The whole squeezing it in, the extra effort, the blah, blah, blah.

My mom ran an errand to the grocery store the other day. Did she drive her car the two-mile distance and back? Nope. She laced up her walking shoes and hoofed it all. She only needed a few items, which could easily be toted home on two legs, so she made the trek, and returned home drenched in sweat and wiped out from the Florida heat. My kinda workout — dripping wet and fatigued in a good way!

After my mom made it home, she told a neighbor about her adventure. “You walked?” asked the friend, implying with tone that my 63-year old momma had conquered an insurmountable feat.

We should all be less hesitant to use exercise as means to knock out a few chores. I’ve been known to cycle to the drugstore for prescriptions and photo pick-ups. Last presidential election, I ran to the library to vote. And I’ve coaxed kids many times to accompany me to my sister’s house by foot, bike, and rollerblade — it’s only 3.87 from my door to hers. Who needs a car for that? (And why waste gas on what we can accomplish with our bodies?)

So, maybe you dread the gym, and you hate the thought of endless laps on a huge track. That’s OK. Try raking your yard for a few hours, carrying bricks from the front to backyard, biking to the bookstore, or skating to the swimming pool, where you sail through a few laps for icing on the cake. Now, I’m not saying you should forgo traditional hard-core workouts —  a long run and an occasional boot camp now and then won’t kill you — but I’m definitely a fan of mixing it up for the sake of keeping fitness fresh.

Or maybe you should just ditch the music next workout. I totally tuned out recently, and I loved it.

Jacki Donaldson is a wife, mom, freelance writer, and editor. When she’s not blogging breast cancer at cancerspot.org, she’s usually spilling secrets about her kids at bravingboys.org and documenting her fresh starts at projectsquareone.wordpress.com.