Productive exercise

s1im62 Posts: 29,732 Member
Anyone else find it way too boring riding a stationary bike, walking a treadmill, or doing anything that is exercise but seems to do nothing to make the world better? True, getting the exercise will help make me and you better, which is a good thing and does actually improve the world a bit, but I find it drudgery to do these mindless activities day after day all for the sake of being one pound lighter after a week.

So, I try to find exercises that accomplish something that gives me that nice modern 'instant gratification' of seeing some positive results immediately at the close of my activity. Desire for instant gratification is not one of our best modern human traits, but it is what it is, so if you've got to have it, why not get it from doing something helpful to your fitness, rather than finishing off that half-gallon of ice cream?

Some things I do:
  • plalking - A term used for picking up litter while walking. There is also plogging (picking up litter while jogging). I need to lose some more pounds before moving on to plogging, but plalking is a great productive activity too. It's a good idea to take gloves along for dealing with the dodgy-looking stuff. If you can manage it, taking two bags along allows you to collect the recyclables separately from the PORT (plain old roadside trash). Whether one bag or two, plalking lets you help make the world a bit greener as you work to get a bit thinner.
  • gardening at home and as a volunteer - My small yard gives me an occasional workout mowing for a half hour or so, but that doesn't amount to much in burning calories. I've found a lot of satisfaction, and a lot more calories burned, in volunteering at a local church or community center, picking up litter around the grounds, weeding the landscaping, and spreading mulch in the flower beds and around shrubs. Take along plenty of water, and a hat, and take as many breaks as you need when it is hot and sunny. It's gratifying to see how much better an hour or so every other day over a couple of weeks can make things. It is likely that people will notice and be thankful, and even if they don't, you will notice the results of your efforts and take more pride in your community.

Those are my productive exercise activities thus far.

So how about you? Personal experiences? Suggestions?

If I run out of roadside trash to pick up (not gonna happen), or get every public garden in the city mulched (not likely either), or get tired of my current activities (more than likely eventually), I could use more ideas. :smiley:


  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,970 Member
    I go out of my mind on a stationary bike but love an outside one. It's useful for transportation, too, not just exercise.

    Thank you for picking up litter while you're out. :smile: That's awesome!
  • margbarco
    margbarco Posts: 128 Member
    On my daily walk to and from Starbucks (2 miles each way) I pick up one “clean” (LOL) piece of garbage that isn’t too far away (don’t want to spend most of my walk holding garbage) from the sidewalk bin. That makes for 10-14 pieces of garbage per week :)

    And I just read about plalking on the MFP blog... Not sure I’d want to carry a bag and stop to get every single piece because I like the momentum of going straight ahead! Also, I get my coffee and breakfast there so the walk isn’t pointless, even if I didn’t pick up litter. Saves on gas emission too, as I used to drive to Starbucks every morning before joining MFP.

    Although I have to say, I don’t mind the treadmill, bike, or elliptical machines at all. It’s my “quiet time” to think.
  • rainbow198
    rainbow198 Posts: 2,245 Member
    Those treadmills and stationary bikes etc. are a bit blah to me, but I will get it done if I have to. For example if I'm traveling and using the hotel's gym and unable to walk briskly outdoors.

    Early on I bought an elliptical and it eventually just collected dust. That's when I learned that's not for me.

    I do enjoy exercise and fitness though. Just not in a traditional gym setting.

    Using my home gym where I have everything I need, doing bodyweight work on a football field, walking on a beautiful trail, using a track and doing intervals of walking and sprinting and doing hill runs etc. is a better fit for me as I like being alone and having no distractions.
  • Machka9
    Machka9 Posts: 24,938 Member
    My most regular exercise is walking for transportation. Why drive when you can walk! :)

    I love cycling too, and used to cycle for transportation, but that's a bit challenging where I live now.
  • JustSomeEm
    JustSomeEm Posts: 20,203 MFP Moderator
    edited August 2018
    I need to start training for a race too dagnabit (@tavistocktoad )

    I work on the 12th floor of my building. My productive exercise is refusing to take the elevators... It makes finally getting to my desk a relief rather than something I dread. :D

    Aaaaand considering starting marathon training soon. Just need to find a race and sign up.
  • tirowow12385
    tirowow12385 Posts: 698 Member
    If you have a healthy fit body, it's your choice to make the world better, but it would be alot more difficult if you were out of shape.
  • hipari
    hipari Posts: 1,367 Member
    Could you volunteer to walk dogs at a local animal shelter? Or walk the elderly in a nearby care home (sure, this might be less exercise-y)? Or help out a struggling family by taking their kids to a park? Volunteer for some sort of children's activity? I was a scout troop leader for years, and teaching kids things like hiking skills is a great way to get some exercise in while being active in the community.

    Other ideas that are less do-good and more multi-tasking: while on a stationary machine of any sort, you could read a book or magazine if it's not too jumpy, watch a movie or listen to podcasts/audiobooks. If you want to invest, a treadmill desk can help get whatever kind of work done while walking.

    Another thing to consider: in doing good for the world, what you do (and eat!) the other 23 hours a day* will probably matter more. If you want to combine weight loss and making the world a better place, pay attention to the ecological and ethical issues of food.

    *assuming a daily one-hour workout
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,650 Member
    Exercise makes me a happier, more patient person. People close to me would say that improves the world dramatically.

    But I'm betting that's not what you mean. There are a ton of volunteer opportunities that could include exercise (intentionally or not). I'd suggest helping out at your local animal shelter.
  • shaf238
    shaf238 Posts: 4,021 Member
    I don't mind a spot of DIY (building furniture)
  • Machka9
    Machka9 Posts: 24,938 Member
    I'm not exercising, i'm training for a race, so its all productive in working towards that goal, even when its stationary bike!

    I am also training for something ... a run. Not a long run, but given that running is not my main exercise, it does require me to put in some training.

    I like having goals to work toward. :)
  • s1im62
    s1im62 Posts: 29,732 Member
    Thanks for all the suggestions! Having a goal and seeing the results is the sort of thing I'm looking for.

    Burned over 600 calories this afternoon mowing some 'tall grass' out back of a local house of worship, and did some spraying to kill a huge patch of poison ivy (that stuff grows great in Texas heat!).

    Eventually a pecan-tree shaded area in the back of the lot will make a nice picnic and play area. That's a long-term goal I'll be working toward.