As I was leafing today through one of those freebie please-use-our-hospital newsletters sent out under the guise of genuine interest in my health, I noticed the headline "Eco-exercise."
According to the article, eco-exercise means that with your physical activity, "you also collect litter you find along the way." Apparently you only need your usual workout clothes, environmental awareness, motivation and "a trash bag (perhaps a biodegradable one)."
Huh? They want me to exercise with a trash bag? Are you kidding me? I don't even exercise with an i-Pod.
And won't I also need plastic gloves and one of those litter pick-up pole things if I'm retrieving garbage covered with disgusting substances and germs?
However, in the interest of saving the planet, I thought I ought to give the "eco-exercise" concept promoted by Eco-Runner Sam Huber more thought. After all, I do take pride in my environmental awareness, occasionally I can muster some motivation and I do own workout clothes.
But I still find the idea of exercising with a trash bag a little troubling, especially since much of the physical activity in my household involves walking the dog. Visualize this -- Husband No. 1 takes Buddy out for a walk and fills a trash bag with litter along the route. Don't you think people would talk? I imagine someone would say: "What the heck are they feeding that dog? That's an awfully big poop bag for an 18-pound animal."
Husband No. 1 and I also exercise frequently at our local Planet Fitness. I am NOT going to pick up litter while I'm on the treadmill, elliptical machine or the recumbent bike because, well, they pay people to do that and give them those cute Planet Fitness shirts, too.
I also do Zumba (think Latin aerobics) for exercise, but there's no trash in the dance studio and even if there were, I wouldn't want to risk clocking one of my classmates with a half-filled trash bag during our Zumba moves.
Although the article specifically cited eco-runners, that won't work for me because my 2010 goal of running a 5K quickly dissipated when I discovered I HATE running. However, I have a difficult time imagining my friend Janet-the-runner scooping up trash while training for a marathon. While white goes with everything, I don't think a woman who looks fashionable even after she's run 26 miles would be seen carrying a tacky white trash bag. Also, I'm betting that stopping for debris would add considerably to her training time. Not going to happen. Plus, look at the guy in the photo. Does he look like he's having fun?
I have been considering kayaking to my exercise repertoire but if I have to pick up sodden litter and debris from the waterways, would that be enough extra weight to sink the kayak? Also, experience indicates I'll need both hands and every bit of concentration to keep from tipping over. And if I fail, you better believe that retrieving a trash bag isn't going to be my highest priority (unless it could double as a life preserver).
When it comes to my exercise activities, that leaves only mountain hiking -- an activity that we flirted with last year and I'm still not sure I really enjoyed. But again, if I have to use every bit of concentration to keep from slipping down a mountain trail or being murdered by a wild animal or psycho killer, I doubt I'll have much time to be on the lookout for litter.
On the other hand, maybe a partially filled plastic trash bag would make a good weapon to protect myself. Or better yet, it might make a great cushion the next time my butt kisses a mountain. So even if my bottom and dignity take a hit, I still can be proud of my contribution to the environment.